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Romanian sailor seriously wounded in clash with Somali pirates

The crew of Libya’s RIM cargo ship (one Romanian and nine Syrians), a ship hijacked by Somali pirates on February 2, managed to take back its control. One of the sailors was seriously wounded in the fighting, the EU’s anti-piracy task force announced yesterday afternoon in a release posted on its website. “Today (Wednesday) at 10.10 AM local time the hijacked Libyan-owned merchant vessel RIM reported that the crew had successfully retaken control of the ship. One of the crew members was seriously injured during the incident,” the NAVFOR release reads. According to NAVFOR, the incident took place southwest of Garacad, off the northern coast of Somalia. NAVFOR Commander Jan Thornqvist immediately ordered SPS Victoria, the warship closest to the area, to sail towards the MV RIM cargo ship in order to give it assistance.


SPS Victoria immediately dispatched its helicopter. According to Dorel Onaca, former director of the Romanian Sea Rescue Agency, the wounded Romanian sailor is Virgil Teofil Cretu (36). The sailor was shot in the hip during the clash between the sailors and the pirates. Onaca also said that the sailor is in a serious condition and that seven pirates were killed.


He also explained what happened onboard. “A man came from the shore carrying food and everything needed. At one point a scuffle broke out between the crew and the pirates. Seven pirates were killed on the ship. The ship sailed eastwards at five knots. It was followed by the pirates that were onshore,” Onaca said. Onaca added that the crew members are in control of the ship and the helicopter is making sure any other pirates are kept at bay.


RIM was captured by Somali pirates in February this year. In March the pirates asked for a ransom of EUR 3 M in order to release the ship and its crew, threatening that if their demand is not met, they will execute the crew. The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) stated that it is checking whether the Romanian sailor that was part of RIM’s crew has been injured.

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