Ambassador to negotiate Somali hostages’ release

23rd April 2008, Comments 0 comments

Spain is sending its ambassador in Kenya to negotiate the release of the crew whose boat has been seized by pirates since Sunday.

23 April 2008

MADRID - Spain on Tuesday sent its ambassador in Kenya to Somalia in an attempt to negotiate the release of the crew of a Spanish tuna fishing boat seized by pirates off the coast of the lawless East African country on Sunday.

Ambassador Nicolás Martín Cinto was expected to travel to the Somali capital Mogadishu on Wednesday, coinciding with the arrival of a Spanish warship off Somalia's north coast where the fishing boat was boarded.

The Playa de Bakio, with 13 Spanish and 13 African crew on board, was attacked by around 10 pirates armed with grenade launchers at around 1pm on Sunday.

Crew members who managed to speak to relatives in Spain by telephone yesterday said the pirates appeared to be "well-trained soldiers" who accused the crew of stealing Somalia's fish stocks and who spoke of a "senior commander" who would negotiate their release in exchange for ransom money.

At 7am yesterday, one of those onboard said the Playa de Bakio was moored in sight of the Somali coast and that the crew members were being treated well.

The Playa de Bakio is the first Spanish fishing boat in eight years to be seized by pirates after the Almacora IV was attacked off Somalia in 2000. The crew were reportedly freed after the boat's owner paid the pirates EUR 400,000.

[El Pais / Expatica]


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