British and US Naval Forces Storm Hijacked Bulker, Free Hostages

MV Montecristo

BBC is reporting that British and U.S. naval forces have freed the Italian-flagged bulk carrier Montecristo that was hijacked Monday off the coast of Somalia.  According to the report, naval forces did not meet any resistance from the pirates and were able to free 23 crew members who had locked themselves in the vessels citadel.

The 56,000-tonne Montecristo is owned by the D’Alessio Group cargo ship and was carrying scrap metal from Liverpool to Vietnam when it was hijacked.

Italian defence minister Ignazio La Russa said of the operation”the criminals managed to cut off all means of communication, but the ‘prisoners’ tossed a bottle with a message through a porthole explaining the situation.”  The message insinuated that the crew was out of harms way, allowing the naval forces to storm the ship.  The 11 pirates who hijacked the ship surrendered and were taken into custody.

The hijacking was reported Monday to the IMB Live Piracy Report but with very few details available.