Three pirates have been killed in a botched attempt by Puntland authorities to rescue hostages from Somali pirates’ longest held ship, the M/V Iceberg 1.
Local media reports indicate that Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF) have launched a coastal raid near Puntland in an effort to free the vessel and hostages from the pirates. The operation failed, but local media has confirmed that three pirates were killed and at least three others were arrested. The reports indicate that the police force attempted the raid after talks with the pirates on board the vessel broke down, and added that authorities are blockading the ship while attempting to talk the pirates into peacefully surrending the vessel and hostages.
The M/V Iceberg and its crew have been held captive since being hijacked off the coast of Yemen on March 29, 2010, after which they were abandoned by the shipowner, Azal Shipping and Cargo, who went out of business following the hijacking.
At the time of the attack, the Iceberg 1 had a multinational crew of 24 made up of 8 Yemenis, 6 Indians, 4 Ghanaians, 2 Sudanese, 2 Pakistani and 1 Filipino. At least one of the crew has committed suicide and another, possibly the captain, is said to have been killed by the pirates.
With any luck, the Somali pirates will surrender to the authorities and not retaliate against the hostages for the attack, but I wouldn’t go betting my mortgage on it.