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Pirate Kidnap Ordeal: South African Family Speaks of Anguish

By Sue Richards last modified Sep 24, 2011 08:52 PM

Published: 2011-09-24 20:52:11
Topics: Piracy & Security
Countries: Somalia , South Africa

From Durban's East Coast Radio

It has been a month since the family of a Durban man taken hostage by Somali pirates has spoken to him. Bruno Pelizzari's sister, Vera Hecht, says each day that goes by brings more anxiety.

Pelizzari and his partner Deborah Calitz were kidnapped in October last year, after the yacht they had been helping bring back to KwaZulu-Natal was hijacked off the Kenyan coast. (See noonsite report here)

The pirates are holding them captive and are demanding a $4-million ransom for their release.

Hecht says the pirates contact her at least once a week demanding the money. They allowed her to briefly speak to her brother over the phone last month.

Through tears, Hecht told Newswatch it's been difficult not knowing what is happening. "He's on our minds constantly, you know we wonder if he's being fed - and where he sleeps. It's made us so much more aware of our ... our lives, and even when we speak to each other we keep on saying "we love you, we love you" ... and you know, even just amongst ourselves here."

Hecht says she takes comfort in knowing that her brother is a strong person and will be doing his best to cope under the circumstances.

"My brother is a very calm person, he's not a troublemaker. He's a very sensible somebody, I am sure he'll be fine if only we could get him out of there."

For more information, you can visit the webpage set up in support of Pelizzari and Calitz -