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August 4, 2010

INTERTANKO slams decision to release Bow Saga attackers

INTERTANKO today called a decision to release seven pirates back to Somalia "a bitter blow to the shipping industry (and to its seafarers) in the global fight against piracy."

The seven had been detained yesterday after an attack on the 40,085 dwt Norwegian-flag chemical tanker Bow Saga in the Gulf of Aden Internationally Recognized Transit Corridor.

Bow Saga was proceeding through the transit corridor when it came under attack. A pirate skiff with seven people on board shot at the bridge, damaging the windows. Bow Saga adopted Best Management Practice and conductet counter measures with evasive maneuvering and the deployment of water hoses to prevent boarding attempts

The Spanish frigate Victoria, which is attached to EU NAVFOR was in the area and its helicopter was already in the air when the distress call was received from Bow Herald. Within 10 minutes the helicopter was firing warning shots over the attacking skiff. Meantime the Victoria, which had been 40 miles away was headed for the scene The pirates broke off the attack and attempted to flee, but were dissuaded by warning shots from both the helicopter and the frigate.

The skiff was subsequently boarded by a team from the Spanish warship, weapons were found and the seven men in the skiff were detained.

Earlier today INTERTANKO had appealed to the seizing state (Spain) or the flag state (Norway) to "cooperate to the fullest possible extent in repression of piracy" in accordance with Article 100 of UNCLOS, and therefore to either prosecute the pirates on the basis of customary international law, or to transfer the prosecution to another state.

INTERTANKO said the decision to release the seven "undoubtedly will also disappoint those governments that have encouraged the detention and prosecution of pirates. INTERTANKO."


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