Pirates 'kicked and spat on' captive Spanish crew
The pirates have reportedly threatened to kill the hostages if their demands are not met.Madrid – Somali pirates holding a Spanish trawler crew captive have kicked and spat on their hostages, the trawler captain said on Monday.
Ricardo Blach, the skipper of the Alakrana tuna boat, seized with its 36-strong crew on 2 October, also told the Spanish newspaper El Pais the heavily armed pirates were on drugs.
The pirates have demanded a USD 4 million (EUR 2.6 million) ransom as well as the release of two suspected pirates captured by Spanish troops off the Somali coast as they left the Alakrana on a small boat.
They have reportedly threatened to start killing the hostages if their demands are not met.
"They want the money and their men and have done from day one," Blach, 59, told El Pais.
"The pirate boss has been on board for four days and he never stops giving us grief. (The pirates) spit on us and kick us ... they're armed to the teeth and point their guns at us."
A number of demonstrations were held over the weekend in the northern Spanish Basque region and the north-west region of Galicia urging the government to take action to free the hostages.
The protests also called for action over the two pirate suspects, currently in custody in Spain.
Blach told Spain's TV3 television station the boat owner had told him the pair was to be transferred to Somalia.
The Spanish press quoted Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, currently on a trip to Argentina, as not ruling out any course of action, provided it is within the law.
On Sunday Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos asked the crew's families to show calm, saying the government was working with the Somali authorities to resolve the situation.
In addition to the 16 Spaniards, the crew includes eight Indonesians as well as others from Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Senegal and the Seychelles.
AFP / Expatica