Somali Pirate says they did not demand for ransom.
On march 13, oil tanker Aris 13 was hijacked by gunmen off the coast of Somalia.
This is a follow up of the incident.
For full story: The return of the Somali Pirates.
One of the pirates who was identified as the ringleader by the name of Said has been talking to Mowlid Haji who is a reporter for BBC.
He said they confuses the ship for a fishing vessel and that they never demanded for a ransom.
They also confirmed that they were holding the eight Sri Lankan crew members hostage.
Said : Of late, we have been fishing in the coastal areas here, we earn our daily bread from fishing. We have seen instances where huge fishing vessels cut our fishing nets, and some of them fire at us. We have been patient for a long period. Lately, they have even started to destroy our small boats and equipment, and the day we have seized this ship, is the day we decided to counter this kind of acts. We were after a particular ship that destroyed some of our equipment, when we came across this one, about eight miles from the coast. It came across to as initially as a fishing vessel, and later on, when we want inside, we discovered that it is a cargo ship, transporting oil. We had to hold it, because we have nothing to lose any way, our resources are being depleted.
Q: Said, you may be having your own problems, as you say, but this is a cargo ship.
Said: Brother, as of now, there is no difference between a cargo ship, a nuclear disposal one or fishing one that cuts my nets and competes with me on my fishing rights. This particular ship was passing eight miles to the coastal area, and we consider the area of over 10 miles from the coast as an exclusive fishing area for us.
Q: You are explaining your own problem, but don’t you think the people you are holding are unarmed civilians, is this not against humanity and morals, given the fact that there are international laws in regards to that?
Said: Why is international law not respected when it comes to my issues; the plight of a poor civilian, who is going out there to fish, in search of daily bread, and these fishing or business ships destroy my equipment. Why is the issue gaining significance when we retaliate? So why give this incident a human face, while is my issues are completely ignored?
Q: So do you create a problem to solve another, it seems that the people you are holding are just like you, did you consider that they were pursuing their daily bread?
Said: For me, I cannot differentiate between the ones who killed my brothers when they collided and run over our small boats at Somali coasts. So only God know if they are not the same people who did that, as I am not police and I have no capability to investigate. This is not using a problem to solve another. This is a response to a major problem. The saying goes that if you are patient for quite too long, you may explode at one time. That is what is happening now.
Q: There is Puntland administration in your area, and we have a federal government, so who has given you the authority to take this action?
Said: No one, circumstances dictated it to us, and the Puntland administration is one that issued permits to all these fishing vessels that are collecting our maritime resources,
Q; Said, we do not have any independent confirmation of those allegations, but I would like to ask you what you achieve out of this? Is it ransom?
Said: Whatever we want is something we have been discussing with the owners of the ship, and talks are progressing well, we are now doing the final touches, and God willing, it will end peacefully. Sorry, I cannot give any more details.
Q: If you are not pirates, why are you negotiating with the owners?
Said: You cannot be sure of what we are up to, we may be looking for evidence of whether these guys are the same ones who run over our boats. You cannot be sure whether we are asking for ransom, we are negotiating in a humanely way, and we will conclude it soon, God willing
Q: We have information from NATO that you have asked for ransom
Said: We have not asked for money, or any kind of ransom…
Source : BBC