Crew of German Boat Defeats the Somalian Pirates — By Calling For Help, Hiding

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Somali pirates have abandoned ship, no ransom necessary (via Reuters).

If you find yourself on a hijacked ship, in addition to issuing a call for help, you might do well to lock yourself and your colleagues in a room, shut down the boat and alert the military. It worked for the crew of the Beluga Fortune, a vessel belonging to Germany’s Beluga Shipping Company.

The ship and its 16 crew members are free today, but they were in the Indian Ocean, approximately 1,200 miles (1,930 kilometers) east of Mombasa, Kenya — en route to South Africa — when Somali pirates came aboard Sunday. According to the AP, the company said both the German military and the international anti-pirate mission Operation Atalanta were involved in the rescue, which also utilized “a British frigate, a surveillance plane and a helicopter.” Apparently, the pirates left before the rescuers boarded the ship.

(See the Top 10 Clashes at Sea).

They may have lost this battle, but Somali pirates are a force to be reckoned with. Last week the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) emphasized they were “intensifying attacks away from their own coast” and were behind 44% of the world’s 289 piracy incidents recorded through September of this year. According to the IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre, the first nine months of 2010 saw pirates boarding 128 ships, firing at 52, and taking 773 people hostage. The Live Piracy Map can help you keep track.