Somali pirates release Greek tanker, three crew feared dead
Somali pirates have release a Greek chemical tanker but three of its crew may have died in unknown circumstances, a Kenyan maritime official said Saturday, dpa reported.
"The MT Action was released last night," Andrew Mwangura, the head of the Kenyan arm of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
"Three of the crew members appear to have died in fishy circumstances." The Panama-flagged MT Action, which had 20 crew onboard, was seized in early October.
Piracy has surged off the coast of Somalia this year as the security situation in the conflict-stricken Horn of Africa nation degenerates.
Around 16 ships and 300 crew members are now in the hands of pirates, including a Saudi supertanker carrying crude oil worth 100 million dollars and a Ukrainian ship carrying a cargo of 33 tanks and other military equipment.
Over 140 delegates from 45 countries - including ambassadors, ministers and technical experts - promised on Thursday to fight the growing menace during a conference in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
One of the major issues facing naval forces in the area - including those from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the European Union and the US-led coalition - is how to deal with pirates once they have been arrested.
The conference was aimed at trying to resolve the complicated legal issues, but no concrete progress was made.
However, the US has drafted a resolution, to come before the UN Security Council next week, that would allow international forces to pursue pirates on land as well as on the sea.
Many top diplomats, including the UN Special Representative for Somalia Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, have blamed the rise in piracy on insecurity in Somalia.
Somalia has been embroiled in chaos ever since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
The crisis has deepened since Ethiopian forces helped kick out a hardline Islamist regime in the last half of 2006, sparking a bloody insurgency.