RIM: What cargo? What destination?
The crew of MV RIM abandoned the ship on the request of the master June 5. EU NAVFOR warship Johan de Witt was close to the position and engaged in the rescue. The mysteries surrounding the MV Rim and The rumours surrounding the ownership and cargo of the 4,800 tonne freighter persist. Although listed as Libyan owned the uninsured vessel was said to have been purchased by North Korea. If the cargo is really only clay, as stated by the owner - a 3 million dollar ransom wouldn't make sense.
Seized February 02, 2010. The North-Korean-flagged, Libyan owned general cargo vessel MV RIM was captured - en route from Eritrea to presumably Yemen - in the north-western Gulf of Aden just south of the Yemeni coast on 2nd February 2009 . Though a coalition ship USS PORTER that works closely with EU NAVFOR and a helicopter from USS FARRAGUT, both of CMF CTF 151, confirmed that the RIM had been hijacked, EU NAVFOR headquarters first declined to confirm the report on 2nd to Somalia's anti-piracy envoy - only to report it then a day later.
EU NAVFOR then stated that the vessel was sea-jacked to the north of the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), was not registered with MSC HOA and has had no communications with UKMTO, the British operation in Bahrain.
The relatively small coastal cargo ship of 4,800 tonnes is still listed in the ship registers as being owned by White Sea Shipping of Tripoli in Libya, while in reality it was allegedly sold now to another company for her last cargo trip with a load of clay and with a final destination at the scrapyards in India.
Her crew comprises at the moment of 10 sailors - all of Syrian nationality. An actual crew-list has now been provided. The vessel and crew are neither covered by an ITF Agreement nor an appropriate insurance.
The ship was first commandeered to the Somali Gulf of Aden coast near LasKorey where it encountered Puntland forces and the pirates exchanged fire with them. Then it sailed around the tip of the very Horn of Africa to Garacad on the Indian Ocean side.
The vessel has been moved from Garacad - because local elders protested - to Kulub, where it is held 5.3 nm off the shore at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. Negotiations between the pirates and the owners have commenced, while nosy naval vessels nearby drew in one case fire from the pirates. Numerous sidelines opened by Somali brokers make the case difficult. The captors have threatened to kill the captain if their ransom demand- $3million - is not fulfilled. If rational, the reason for the high demand for a ship which is on her last leg to the scrapyards can only be found in the cargo, which - if really only clay, as stated by the owner - also wouldn't make sense.
The Syrian crew of MV RIM are now on board Johan de Witt and will be transferred to a safe port.
>>> What if the real cargo was discharged at Garacad? The crew "overcomes" pirates, sails away and abandons the vessel?