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CURRENT ISSUE

ARM MERCHANT SHIPS?
Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates?

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available
Professional armed security teams should be hired
No guns on merchant ships, ever

August 4, 2009

Five crew members snatched from Lithuanian reefer

In a reminder that acts of piracy are not confined to the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania reports that on August 3, the Lithuanian-flagged ship Saturnas, which is owned by Limarko Shipping Company, was assaulted by armed attackers on the Escravos River Road off the coast of Nigeria. Five members of the crew, all Lithuanian citizens, were taken hostage and shipped away on a high-speed boat in an unknown direction.

According to the available information, none of the crew had been injured. The ship with the remaining nine crew members was not damaged.

Currently, the Limarko Shipping Company and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania are using various information channels to find out the circumstances of the incident and to detect the current location of the Lithuanian citizens.

The owners of the ship have informed the families and relatives of the crew members about the incident.

The Ministry says that media and the public are expected to understand the sensitivity of the situation and the fact that the ship owners and the diplomats will have to refrain from detailed comments.

A stock exchange announcement by Limarko CEO Vytautas Lygnugaris added little additional information other than that "the remaining crew of nine persons took the vessel to a safe position," but said that "it is hoped that the event shall not have a material effect on the company's financial results."

The Saturnas is a 3,930 dwt, 1982-built reefer.


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