Bermuda Flagged Ship Hijacked by Somali Pirates

March 23, 2010

A Bermuda flagged ship is the latest victim of hijacking by the now infamous Somali pirates.

The Bermudian registered MV Talca was hijacked this afternoon [Mar 23] with 25 crew members on board: 23 Sri Lankans, one Filipino and one Syrian. The Talca is a refrigerated cargo vessel, and contains citrus.

The hijacking took place approximately 120 nautical miles off the coast of Oman and 180 miles south of Mazera. The ship and its crew was seized in the Gulf of Aden, which is nicknamed “Pirate Alley”, and reported to be one of the most dangerous shipping lanes in the world.

It is believed to be the first Bermuda flagged ship to be hijacked in modern times. Speaking with someone familiar with the Bermuda Maritime Registry and its responsibilities, we were informed that in theory as the vessel is Bermuda registered the Bermuda Government could be obliged to meet some of costs associated with rescue, should that occur.

We understand that any acts of negotiation would most likely be conducted by the British Government on behalf of Bermuda, due to our status as an overseas territory without emissaries or consulate personnel. In turn the British Government could bill Bermuda for services rendered, although in many cases the shipping company pays the ransom.

Bermuda is a party to all of the applicable International Maritime and Labour Conventions.

Update May 11, 2010: Ransom payment made, ship freed, see here

Somali pirates. Credit:

Somali pirates. Credit:

When it was hijacked, the ship had been heading from Sokhna, Egypt, to Busheir, Iran.

The hijacking took place only 60 miles from the easternmost limits of the 1.5 million square mile International Recommended Transit Corridor, which is patrolled by around 35 warships from the European Union Naval Force, NATO, Australia, Canada, Japan, USA and other nations. Officials say this shows the hijackers are widening their grounds.

The Malta flagged cargo ship MV Frigia was also hijacked today, prompting NATO to advise vessels to avoid certain routes. Officials consider the Frigia hijacking more problematic, as the ship contains fertilizer which could be used to create explosive devices. 22 crew are onboard the vessel.

Premier Dr. Ewart Brown issued this statement :

The Department of Maritime Administration has confirmed that the refrigerated cargo vessel TALCA was hi-jacked off the coast of OMAN while on a voyage from Egypt to Iran with a cargo of citrus. There are 22 persons on board.

The Managers based in London had brief contact with the Chief Engineer by telephone who confirmed there were pirates on board but that the crew was safe. At present the vessel is currently being shadowed by a US warship. It is our hope that this situation is resolved swiftly and without loss of life or injury to the crew of the TALCA.

In 2009, Somali pirates were held responsible for 217 acts of piracy, in which 47 vessels were hijacked with a total of 867 crew members taken hostage.

The hijackers normally demand a ransom in exchange for the safe return of the ship and crew. According to the Kenyan foreign minister, Somali pirates received over $150 million in ransom during 2008. Pirates demand the ransom money in US cash, and have had it dropped from helicopters or sent on small boats. In January 2009, $3 million cash was dropped from a helicopter onto the deck of MV Sirius Star to secure the release of ship and crew.

Somalia is largely considered a ‘failed state’, lacking general infrastructure such as law enforcement, government, schools etc.  The African nation with a population of over 9 million people, has not had a functioning government for 19 years. One of the world’s poorest nations, 73% of the population live on a daily income below $2, according to the World Bank.

Pictured below is a map of the Gulf of Aden, where the ship was hijacked:


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  1. George says:

    $2.5 mill in 50 day sound like a nice business to get into but too dangerous for myslf