Somali pirates anchor Danish family yacht, threaten death

Now it’s a Danish family of five, including three children, that has been taken hostage by Somali pirates who vow to kill them should a rescue attempt be made. The pirated yacht, taken last week, was anchored off the shore of Somalia today.

The 43-foot sailboat was being piloted by Jan Quist Johansen along with his wife, their three children, ages 12 to 16 and two Danish crew members.

A Somali pirate going by the name of Muse Abdi said the family was transferred to another, larger pirated ship.

The decison to anchor smaller vessels then transfer hostages to a larger ship is a common practice by Somali pirates.

“They are safe. They were just transferred from the boat to the big ship,” said Abdi, who has provided information in the past. “They have been added to other nationals in another ship to avoid any possible attack.”

The Associated Press reports a Somali pirate warning that if any attempt was made to rescue them, they would meet the same fate as the four American yachters slain by their pirate captors last week. Like Scott and Jean Adam who were killed by pirates last week, the Johansen family was aware of the pirate-infested waters but believed warships patrolling the area would protect them.

Somalia has not had a functioning government in place since 1991, a situation that has allowed pirating to grow and become ever more dangerous as time has gone on. This is the first known incident where children were taken hostage.

Flickr photo by RubyGoes