Captain of Somali pirate hijacked ship is a Pole

Beluga International; photo - PAP/EPA
The captain of the 12 crew on board the Beluga Nomination cargo ship seized by Somali pirates at the weekend is a Pole. The German owners of the vessel are calling for military assistance as it sails towards Somalia.

“We can conform that on board the ship Beluga, hijacked off the coast of the Seychelles, is a Polish crew member,” said spokesman for Poland’s Foreign Ministry Marcin Bosacki.

“We also know that the owner of the ship is a German company flying under Antiguan and Barbados flags,” Bosacki told the PAP news agency.

The crew comprises of a Polish captain, seven Filipinos, two Russian and two Ukrainians.

The owners, the Bremen-based Beluga Shipping GmbH, say they believe the pirates, who stormed the vessel on Saturday, have now full control of the ship and are now heading for Somalia.


When the 9.775 tonnes Beluga Nomination was under attack, the Polish captain sent an SOS to the EU’s anti-piracy unit in a call for help but received no response.

“Military assistance is badly needed,” says a statement by the Beluga Shipping GmbH.

"We are somewhat irritated," Beluga’s chief executive Niels Stolberg is quoted by Reuters as saying. "Why, within two and a half days during which the crew had hidden from the pirates in the citadel, could no external help be offered?"

Poland’s Foreign Ministry, however, says that as soon as it heard of the hijacking it has been monitoring the situation.

“We are in constant contact with the company and with the EU [anti-piracy unit] says spokesman Bosacki.

The EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta mission, launched by Brussels in December 2009 in a attempt to give merchant ships protection against Somali piracy, says in a statement that its nearest warship at the time of the hijacking was over 1000 nautical miles away.

The hijacking of the German vessel is unusual as it was outside the normal pirate operating area of the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.

Somali piracy is thought to cost the world economy up to 12 billion USD annually. (pg)