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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

July 14, 2009

Aysun Akbay contacts family

Aysun Akbay, the 24 year old fourth officer of the hijacked Turkish-flag ship Horizon-1, today contacted her family via satellite phone, reports the Anatolia news agency.

Ms. Akbay called her sister's mobile phone and asked her family to convince the owner of the ship to pay the ransom demanded by the pirates, her father Ozcan Akbay is quoted as saying. His daughter reportedly said that the pirates asked for ransom from the ship's owner, but "representatives of the company told them that the ransom was too high and they could not pay such an amount."

Meantime,it appears that Ms. Akbay is not the first female ship's officer to be held by Somali pirates.

Among 11 Romanian seafarers aboard the German-owned MV Victoria, seized on May 5, is Ruxandra Sarchizian, a deck officer. Also among the hostages is her father, Hartin Sarchizian, described as the ship's chief mechanic,

Ecoterra, a non-governmental organization with a presence in Somalia, says that a female Philippine citizen is also being held aboard another hijacked vessel.


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