Somali pirates free Dutch ship, one crew member dead

23rd June 2009, Comments 0 comments

Somali pirates release hijacked Dutch ship, with one crew member shot dead and another wounded.

The Hague -- Somali pirates on Tuesday released a Dutch ship they had hijacked last month in the Gulf of Aden and one crew member was found dead aboard the boat, the Dutch defence ministry told AFP.

"The pirates let the ship, in which a crew member was found dead, leave," ministry spokesman Marcel Pullen said. "He was shot dead."

The victim had died the day of the MV Marathon's capture on 7 May, he added.

Another crew member suffered a bullet wound, Pullen said.

The MV Marathon was being escorted to a "safe port" by the Dutch fregate De Zeven Provincien, the spokesman said, refusing to reveal the location. The remaining crew are receiving medical treatment on board their own ship and have been given new supplies of victuals and fuel.

The ship, which had eight crew members, was carrying coke, a coal residue used in steel making.

After the hijack the ship was taken to Eyl in Puntland and long drawn-out negotiations over its release were held between the Somali pirates and the Dutch government. It is not known whether a ransom was paid.

The release occurs shortly after the Dutch government's proposal for the creation of an international tribunal to try Somali pirates, submitted to a meeting of the International Piracy Contact Group in New York.

Somali pirates still hold 14 ships carrying more than 200 sailors, nearly a quarter of them Filipinos, according to the latest figures from the International Maritime Bureau.

Western powers, as well as Russia and Chinese authorities, have deployed warships to battle piracy off the coast of Somalia.

AFP / Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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