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Latest News of Danish Crew Seized by Pirates

By Jeremy Wyatt last modified Mar 08, 2011 01:20 PM

Published: 2011-03-08 13:20:32
Topics: Piracy & Security
Countries: Denmark , Djibouti , Eritrea , Oman , Somalia , Yemen

Report from the BBC Friday 4th March 2011

Somali pirates say they have moved a party of Danes including three children from their hijacked yacht to a ship moored off the Somali coast. Spokesmen for the pirates said the seven Danish citizens had been put on a ship where other foreign hostages are already being held.

Jan Quist Johansen, his wife and their children, aged 12 to 16, were seized with two other adults on 24 February.

The pirates have warned they will die if any bid is made to rescue them. Mr Johansen is being held along with his wife Birgit Marie Johansen, their sons Rune and Hjalte, and their daughter Naja.

It is believed their yacht dropped anchor near the Somali coastal village of Hafun late on Tuesday.

A Somali pirate who gave his name as Muse Abdi told the Associated Press news agency the family had been transferred to another, larger pirated ship as a precaution.

"They are safe," he said.
"They were just transferred from the boat to the big ship. They have been added to other nationals in another ship to avoid any possible attack."

Ibrahim Harawo, who said he was a member of the pirate ship's crew, was quoted by the Norwegian daily Verdens Gang as saying the Danish group had been split up - "on the same ship but in different places".

Another pirate spokesman, Abdullahi Mohamed, said all of the Danes would die if a rescue was attempted.

He added that the family's captors were discussing how big a ransom to demand, and added that investors backing the pirate gang were angling for a large sum. The Johansen family are from Kalundborg, 120km (75 miles) west of Copenhagen.

Posted 3rd March 2011

A Danish couple and their three children (aged 13, 15, and 17) and two adult crew have been seized by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. The hijacking, reported by the Danish Foreign Ministry, is believed to be the first time that Somali pirate gangs have taken children as hostages.

Danish naval command received a distress signal from the yacht, possibly called “ING”, on Thursday 24 February, but the story was not released by the country's foreign ministry for several days.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press spoke to Abdullahi Mohamed, who reportedly has ties with the gang holding the Danish family.

Mohamed told the AP on Tuesday that any attack against the pirates would result in the deaths of the hostages. He referred to the killings last week of four American hostages taken captive by pirates on their yacht.

Mohamed "has provided reliable information to AP in the past," the news agency said.

Lene Espersen, the Danish foreign minister has said “It's almost unbearable to know that children are involved, and I vigorously condemn the pirates,"

She added that the Danish government would do "everything in their power" to help the hostages. However, the foreign minister said that the country's government "does not negotiate with pirates".

The family had left on a two-year around the world tour expected to end in mid-2011, a neighbour told a Danish tabloid.