May 26, 2010
Pirates Claim Rocket Launchers were for Shark Fishing
By Chad Love
Here's one from the "I graduated with honors from the Captain Quint School of Extreme Shark Fishing" files...
From the story in the Daily (UK) Telegraph:
'Pirates' claim they were just fishing for sharks... with rocket launchers
Five Somali men have protested that they were shark fishermen not pirates despite being intercepted off Somalia's coast after attacking a Dutch vessel with rocket launchers and assault rifles. Europe's first modern trial for the 17th century crime of "sea robbery" has opened in Rotterdam amid protestations of innocence from the accused. The men, facing jail terms of nine to 12 years, are accused of attacking and attempting to hijack the Samanyolu, a Dutch Antilles-flagged ship, while it was sailing in the Gulf of Aden in January 2009.
The ship's Turkish crew beat off the attack by firing signal flares at the Somali boat, destroying it. Danish marines then rescued and arrested the Somalis before handing them over to Dutch authorities. Farah Ahmed Yusuf, 25, accused the cargo ship of attacking the Somalis after engine failure had forced them to abandon their shark fishing expedition and seek help. "The intention was to fish," he said. "As we came closer, we put our hands in the air. While we had our hands in the air, they shot at us. They attacked us." Another accused man, Sayid Ali Garaar, 39, said: "We were not pirates, we were fishermen. There were no weapons."