Somali Pirates Staged Execution of Bulgarian Captain - Report

Diplomacy | January 31, 2010, Sunday // 20:46|  views

Russian journalist Mikhail Voitenko says the Somali pirates exerted pressure on Bulgarian sailors. File photo

Somali pirates who hijacked the Asian Glory ship with 8 Bulgarian sailors on board have pressured severely the kidnapped crew.

This was announced Friday night by Mikhail Voitenko, former Editor-in-Chief of the Russian publication “Sovfrakht Maritime Bulletin,” the most famous Russian online media for sailing news, in an interview for the Bulgarian National Television.

Voytenko stated that 10 days ago the Somali pirates staged the fake execution of the Bulgarian captain of Asian Glory, Veliko Velikov. Velikov was made to write a farewell letter, and to kneel down at gunpoint.

The Russian journalist claims that his sources are from the kidnapped crew, and says that he did not announce early the information he had because the media attention would probably help the Somali pirates.

Voitenko has commented that he was concerned over the behavior of the group that hijacked Asian Glory because the pirates had demanded an untypically high ransom – more than USD 9 M.

He confirmed the news from earlier on Sunday that the Asian Glory ship had been spotted by the international forces out into the ocean, which means that the Somali pirates are planning to use it as a base ship, which would be a precedent.

Yet, the Russian journalist did not rule out the possibility that the ship might be taken to the ocean in order to pressure the Zodiac company during the negotiations.

Asian Glory used to be anchored off the Somali coast with the other Bulgarian-manned hijacked ship, St. James Park. Voitenko believes there are no matters of concern over the latter ship.

Maritime expert Voitenko has left Russia several months ago over the saga with the Russian ship Arctic Sea.

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Tags: somali pirates, St. James Park tanker, Asian Glory, captain, Veliko Velikov, execution, Mikhail Voitenko


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