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November 5, 2010

Pirate hostage dies of malnutrition

A member of the crew of the hijacked vessel MV Iceberg I has reportedly died of malnutrition. The man, a Yemeni, was the ship's Third Officer and died on October 27.

Ecoterra, an environmental protection group that has a presence in Somalia, says that three other crew members are said to be in bad shape.

The ship has been held by Somali pirates for seven months. Eu Navfor reported on March 29 that it I had been hijacked 10 nautical miles off the port of Aden, Yemen, outside the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). The ship is a Panama-registered, 1976-built RO/RO of 3,960 dwt. The owner is Dubai, UAE, based Azal Shipping and Cargo.

Ecoterra says the owner confirmed being informed of the death by the crew. The owner, though, declined to make any comment to the UAE English language daily The National. That newspaper reports that the crew of Polar I have run low on food and water and completely out of medicine and generator fuel. It quotes an Ecoterra spokesman as saying that Azal Shipping has held negotiations with the hijackers, most recently in September, but that "the ransom requested far exceeds the amount the owner is willing to pay."


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