Recent media reports that the seven Danish cruising sailors kidnapped by Somali pirates are held on a ship are inaccurate, say environmental and piracy-watch group Ecoterra.
Hafun and the Horn of Africa where the Danish cruising sailors are being held
They report that another seajacked vessel, the M Ems River, was first used to tow the yacht and then refuel it before it was itself released after the payment of a ransom. In the meantime, the seven Danes, including a family of five, were taken and held on land and in the mountains.
The yacht SY Ing which had been used for several years as the home of the Danish family embarked on a world cruise, is itself now held by armed gang-members on the Dhur Canood coast. They are reportedly nervous but believe they will not be attacked as long as they hold the seven hostages in the mountains further inland.
However, during last weekend helicopters believed to be from the Danish warship off the coast have been creating panic among the local population in and around Hafun and other coastal dwellings in apparent search attempts. In addition, on Monday a warship appeared Monday about a nautical mile off shore.
Ecoterra's analysts believe that such activity by the Danes 'will not help in the present situation to achieve a safe release and only could create more and more tension, which could be fatal.'
Meanwhile, perhaps as a result of these shows of force, the hostage group has reportedly been taken deeper into the mountainous area of the very tip of the Horn of Africa.
Adding to the tension of the Somali gang, it has been reported that President Farole of Puntland, who has recently been visiting Italy and Addis Ababa, has ordered a military unit to search for the gang and their hostages and to surround them.
Ecoterra comments: 'It is hoped that also this militia is kept under strict instructions not to endanger the lives of the hostages, because every time the Puntland coastguard, their militias or the U.S. financed Puntland Intelligence Agency interfered in a case of the past, only death on all sides was the result.'