ECOTERRA Intl. urges The South Korean government as well as the authorities of the Republic of Kenya to fully
investigate the case of "GOLDEN WAVE 305" and hold the owner, captain, manager and agent responsible for endangering the
lives of 39 Kenyan seamen, aiding Somali pirates in piracy operations and illegal fishing in the first place.
Illegal South Korean Fishing Vessel Seized In Somalia Back In Kenya
Fv Golden Wave Was Illegal All The Way Along
A South Korean fishing vessel seized in October last year in Somali waters has arrived in the Kenyan port of Mombasa
after its release last week from Somalia.
Family and friends of the 39 Kenyan, two South Korean and two Chinese sailors aboard welcomed them. Emotional scenes
could be observed as the sailors met their families and somer officials gathered for their arrival, among them the East
African chapter chairman of the Seafarers Assistance Programme (SAP), Mr. Andrew Mwangura.
The FV Golden Wave - also known as Keummi 305 (or Geummi 305) - was escorted into the port by a Finnish warship and a
small Kenyan navy boat. South Korea's foreign ministry earlier said the South Korean navy had requested that a vessel
from the EU Naval Force accompany the Keummi 305 to secure the safety of the sailors.
The 241-ton, sometimes Kenya-flagged fishing vessel, which had not been authorized by the South Korean Government to
fish outside Korean waters, was attacked on October 9 in Somali waters off Ras Kiamboni north of Kenya's Lamu Island
Seafarers on the vessel as well as local sources all stated that the vessel actually had been fishing off Ras Kiamboni
in Somali waters without licence. Crew members actually will consult with lawyers in order to sue the captain, who took
them against their will into these dangerous waters on an illegal fishing trip.
Kenyan Joseph Amere, who had acted as the crew's chief negotiator with pirate bosses, told Reuters they had been
illegally trawling for crabs off the shores of Somalia before the vessel was seized and later were forced to launch 17
raids on ships plying the busy waterways between east Africa and the Seychelles archipelago, because the shipowner was
not ready to pay the hefty compensation for the illegal fishing.
The vessel was then captured by the Ras Kiamboni coastal militia and due to lack of a suitable court subsequently handed
on to Somali brokers, which wanted to get the fine from the owner. Since that did not materialize, the vessel and crew
were then handed to a group, which more known for acts of piracy than anything else.
This group thereafter misused the fishing vessel as piracy launch to capture merchant vessels and all together held onto
the vessel for over four month.
Some of the crew members confirmed this already also to news reporters that their trawler was used by the pirates as a
mother ship to attack other vessels and they gave brief statements on the true story of their ordeal. Their captors
allegedly seized five other vessels in Kenyan waters, the sailors believe according to the Daily Nation, during the four
months,of the terrifying ordeal, and at no time were Kenyan security forces anywhere in the vicinity. The editor of that
newspaper therefore felt obliged to blow into the horn of the navies, stating that "The conclusion then is that our
security agencies do not have the capacity to protect Kenyan territorial waters." The sailors and fishermen also
reported from their hostage takers that many of the pirates say they began as fishermen but have lost their livelihoods
because of foreign trawlers.
At first no information about a ransom was reported, while pirates usually only release ships after being paid.
The Korean agent, who had been outside the country on a family trip, now claimed to a Kenyan newspaper that the ship and
crew were released on February 8 after payment of a reported KSh50 million (= 635,000 US$) ransom, which was immediately
rubbished by the seamen as well as sources in Somalia. The East African Seafarers Assistance Programme said that there
was maybe only at one point of time a payment of 50,000 US$ (= KSh 4 mio) for upkeep of the crew, but that otherwise the
crew was released for having served in piracy actions and because there was no hope that the owner or agent would come
up with any serious money.
The Kenyan sailors also revealed heart-rending stories of their ill-treatment, deprivation, and sheer horror of life in
captivity as well as their fear for their families, which had not been supported by the shipowner during all that time
of their absence.
The vessel was known since years to conduct fish-poaching operations and when it finally got entangled in Somali not
just few, including the Malindi fishermen were actually relieved that the boat wouldn't disturb their fishing grounds
for a while.
In any case the South Korean Government, who had already listed the vessel as an illegal operator, will conduct a full
investigation and it is hoped by the Kenyan beach units of the fishing co-operatives as well as conservation
organizations that the Kenya authorities follow swiftly for misusing the Kenyan flag in fish piracy in the first place.