Somali pirates' trial opens in Germany

2010-11-22 14:21
Hamburg - The first pirate trial to take place in Germany for 400 years opened on Monday, with 10 Somali men in the dock accused of attempting to seize a German container ship in April.

Pirates used to have their heads chopped off down by the docks in this northern port but the Somali gang faces a maximum sentence of 15 years after a trial that is due to last several months.

The men, aged between 17 and 48, are charged with attacking the MS Taipan 900km east of the Somali coast.

Dutch naval forces boarded the ship after a brief exchange of gunfire and handed the pirates over to Germany. The crew evaded capture by hiding in a so-called "panic room".

Piracy is a growing problem off the coast of lawless Somalia, with both the number of attacks and the ransoms demanded spiking over the past two years, according to the London-based International Maritime Bureau.

Some 23 vessels and 500 crew are currently held by Somali pirates, the bureau said.

High-profit, low-risk game

Dieter Berg, head of marine underwriting at Germany's Munich Re, the world's leading reinsurance company, said the trial was unlikely to deter others from rushing to join the Horn of Africa's most lucrative business.

"It's a high-profit, low-risk game" for pirates, he said. "It's important pirates should face trial," but too few countries are prepared to deal with such difficult cases, he added.

"There's little risk involved for would-be pirates" as most of them are simply captured and then released, he said.

Another expert, Anja Shortland, who studies piracy at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), said that for a Somali pirate to be tried in the West "might be the ultimate prize rather than a deterrent".

"Spending three, five, even seven years in a European or American jail followed by political asylum - you can't do much better as a Somali man," she said.

- SAPA
Read more on:    germany  |  somalia
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Something may come back into focus. You may get a second chance to say what needs to be said. The important focus today is to not...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.