MV QSM Dubai sea-jacked in Gulf of Aden
During a serious shoot-out between two rival pirate groups surrounding the sea-jacked MV RIM, leaving 9 Somalis dead, the Syrian crew of the vessel managed to overpower six pirates on board and to sail free. Maritime observers working with ECOTERRA Intl. reported that the crew is said to be all right and that the six Somalis are kept on board as captives.
The mysterious scrap-vessel MV RIM was seized on February 02, 2010.
The North-Korean-flagged, originally Libyan owned general cargo vessel MV RIM was captured - en route from Eritrea to presumably Yemen - in the north-western Gulf of Aden just south of the Yemeni coast on 2nd February 2009 . Though a coalition ship USS PORTER that works closely with EU NAVFOR and a helicopter from USS FARRAGUT, both of CMF CTF 151, confirmed that the RIM had been hijacked, EU NAVFOR headquarters first declined to confirm the report on 2nd to Somalia's anti-piracy envoy - only to report it then a day later.
EU NAVFOR then stated that the vessel was sea-jacked to the north of the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), was not registered with MSC HOA and has had no communications with UKMTO, the British operation in Bahrain.
The relatively small coastal cargo ship of 4,800 tonnes is still listed in the ship registers as being owned by White Sea Shipping of Tripoli in Libya, while in reality it was allegedly sold now to another company for her last cargo trip with a load of clay and with a final destination at the scrapyards in India. Rumours that it actually was carrying weapons destined for the Yemen rebels persisted.
Her crew comprises at the moment of 10 sailors - all of Syrian nationality and an actual crew-list had been provided. The vessel and crew, however, are neither covered by an ITF Agreement nor an appropriate insurance.
The ship was first commandeered to the Somali Gulf of Aden coast near LasKorey where it encountered Puntland forces and the pirates exchanged fire with them. Then it sailed around the tip of the very Horn of Africa to Garacad on the Indian Ocean side.
The vessel then had been moved from Garacad - because local elders tried to interfere - to Kulub, where it was held 5.3 nm off the shore at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. Negotiations between the pirates and the owners as well as a Lybian group had commenced, while nosy naval vessels nearby drew in one case fire from the pirates. Numerous sidelines opened by Somali brokers make the case difficult. The captors had threatened to kill the captain if their ransom demand - reported elsewhere as $3million - would not be fulfilled. If rational, the reason for the high demand for a ship which is on her last leg to the scrapyards can only be found in the cargo, which - if really only clay, as stated by the owner - also wouldn't make sense. The crew was held on the vessel during the last time near Ilfoshe in the vicinity of Kulub. Lybian and Puntland sidelines competed for a long time to get hold of that ship.
It is hoped that naval vessel in the vicinity will now aid the crew but also conduct a serious inspection and investigation of that ship.