Photo of a pirate flag.
The Beluga Fortune outsmarted a group of Somali pirates. CC by baltine/Flickr

A cargo ship owned by a German shipping company, the Beluga Fortune, was obstructed from its route through the ocean by criminals from a country on the horn of Africa, Somalia. Thus, those who stood in the way of said ship were Somali pirates, technically speaking. A scant 24 hours later, the pirates jumped ship after the Beluga Fortune crew members locked themselves in a safe room and shut down the ship. A state of lawlessness in Somalia has led to an epidemic of piracy that has peaked in 2010.

Beluga Fortune beset by buccaneers

From the United Arab Emirates, the Beluga Fortune was on its way to South Africa. Out of nowhere, an attack came from Somali pirates. According to the Associated Press, the ship was close to Mombasa, Kenya. According to Reuters, all of the 16 men in the crew locked themselves in a panic room built for times like this after sending out a distress call. From the room, the crew shut down the engines, cut off fuel and disabled the bridge.

Panic rooms effective against pirates

In September, pirates took the German freighter Magellan Star, which had a panic room similar to the one aboard Beluga Fortune. Spiegal Online International reports that before American soldiers freed the ship, 22 hours after it was seized, the crew retreated to the safe room, a space selected to be hard to find and harder to break into. Food, drinks, medical equipment and supplies were all available in the room. There was a satellite phone that kept the captain in contact with the ship’s owners. A secret emergency exit was also built into the safe room. The Magellan Star’s owner talked to Spiegal and said, “the pirates called our shipping company in desperation, wanting to know where the crew was.”

Somali pirates information

The Somalia government collapsed in 1991, which has made shipping off the country’s coast very difficult because of Somali pirates. A total of 19 ships and 428 hostages are being held captive by the Somali pirates, reports the European Union Naval force Just this year, 27 crew members have been hurt while 1 has been killed. There have been 773 sailors held for ransom.



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