SA skipper tells of pirate ordeal

2010-11-15 14:23

Richards Bay - A South African skipper on Monday described the harrowing experience he and another two South African went through at the hands of Somali pirates.

"I was a scary experience. They beat me and threatened us with guns. I refused to leave the yacht and I was prepared to sink with the pirates, said Peter Eldridge.

He was addressing the media for the first time since he was rescued off the Somali coast on November 7.

The Durban couple, Bruno Pelizzari and his girlfriend Deborah Calitz were not so lucky, and were taken from the yacht SY Choizil by the armed pirates.

The yacht was taken over by the pirates, aged between 15 and 50, on October 26.

Refused to leave yacht

Eldridge resisted capture after they had spent days with the pirates.

"I refused to leave the yacht because I had made peace with myself. I refused because everything I had was in that yacht," he said.

Explaining his ordeal, Eldridge said they were off the Kenyan coast when they were captured by the pirates, who were armed with AK47s, rockets and R4s.

"They demanded money. They took the money that Deborah and Pelizzari were carrying for their families. They demanded more and we told them that we did not have more because we were ordinary people," he said.

He said the pirates had refused to believe them.

"They said we were from Britain because we were white. This was despite the fact that we showed them our passports," he said.

He said he had been assaulted and a firearm had been discharged when he refused to leave the vessel. The yacht had run aground when the pirates forced them to leave it.

Eldridge said the experience he had in the hands of the pirates was so harrowing that knowing what day or time had become irrelevant to them.


He said they were on their way from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to Richards Bay when they were attacked.

"The issue of the pirates was discussed before we began our journey but we believed that they would only rob us and leave us to continue if they caught us," he said.

He said the French warship patrolling the area tried to help them before their yacht ran aground and was attacked by the pirates with rockets.

Eldridge was rescued by the French warship.

The Department of International Relations and Co-operation on Sunday said that the pirates had not yet communicated with anyone.

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  • Pulverturm - 2010-11-15 15:01

    Wipe them out!!!!! F$%# their Human rights, Wipe them out! Blow these Pirates out of the water!

  • McFreak - 2010-11-15 15:09

    the superpowers are being held ransom by a bunch of moegoes holed up in a jungle. They know where they are why dont they just wipe them out. If there is collateral damage so what? What about the collateral damage from every act of piracy. In years gone by piracy was an act of war and the retribution was decisive and swift

  • robertgunning - 2010-11-15 15:20

    A warship vs a few pirates and the pirates win?

      robg - 2010-11-15 19:13

      Something stinks and it is not old fish!

  • vinnythesaff - 2010-11-15 15:28

    That's Africa for you...left to their own devices, they'll achieve nothing noteworthy, legally anyway...and will screw everything up with no regard for others. Even the previously great nation of Egypt these days is nothing but a bunch of beggars and paupers, having to import their food and live on handouts from tourists, whom they rob blind and attack at any given opportunity. There is not one African nation that has decent drivers or are obedient to proper road rules. They're all the same.

  • robg - 2010-11-15 19:11

    Pirates attack them off Kenyan coast when they were sailing from Dar Es Salaam to Richards Bay. Last I looked Kenya is north of Tanzania. Something is not right!

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