October 25 - Just one day after being captured and seized by pirates in the Indian Ocean, Beluga Fortune and her crew of 16 are free again with no ransom payment.
Niels Stolberg, president and CEO of Beluga Shipping GmbH, says that investments into security and training are paying off, as well as the rapid intervention of the joint naval forces which had deployed a warship alongside the Beluga vessel within hours, giving the pirates no other option than to give up ransom demands and go on the run.
With a the crew unhurt and only little damage to the vessel, the multipurpose heavy lift project carrier now continues her journey to Richards Bay, South Africa.
Adds Stolberg: "Our colleagues onboard have (escaped) rather lightly from this attack. We have solved the situation very soon, which is a great relief to everyone at Beluga."
Stolberg says that the company's financial efforts to provide its seafarers with the greatest possible safety and security on the vessels, as well as the ongoing practice of stressful situations and rehearsal of well-considered behaviour during a pirate attack, have proved more than worthwhile.
"The crew of Beluga Fortune did act very reasonably and processed through the safety-checklist in the fullest knowledge of every appropriate step: They have notified us of the imminent attack by alarm, they have entrenched themselves in the so called panic room which we installed for just such a purpose, they switched off the main engine, cut off the fuel supply, blocked the bridge technique and informed the military ferret aircraft on site by their radio system - hence, the pirates were unable to take control of the vessel and to misuse our seafarers as 'dead pledge' for a ransom demand.
"All involved forces have acted very target-oriented and in combination with the excellent behaviour of our colleagues onboard made such a swift and happy ending of the capture possible. On a more long-term basis, however, it must be ensured above all politically that the criminal pirates do not find this nourishing ground in their strongholds any longer."