Message in bottle ends ship hijack
BRITISH forces freed an Italian cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates after retrieving a message in a bottle tossed by hostages from a porthole.
The message confirmed that the crew was safely sealed inside an armoured area. All 23 crew members of the Montecristo cargo ship were brought to safety yesterday and the 11 pirates arrested.
The crew, seven Italians, six Ukrainians and 10 Indians, locked themselves inside an armoured area of the vessel when the pirates boarded and continued to navigate the ship.
"The criminals managed to cut off all means of communication, but the 'prisoners' tossed a bottle with a message through a porthole explaining the situation," Italian Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa said.
At that point, other ships in the area were aware that the Italian vessel had been boarded by pirates. But the message in the bottle gave an important signal the crew were safe and that a rescue operation could be launched without risking injury.