The case against the “Ukrainian pirate” can be fabricated, – media
The media found a colleague of a Ukrainian seafarer accused of piracy. In their opinion, the case against the accused may be fabricated.
In August, the Office of the Attorney General announced the opening of the first case of sea piracy in the history of Ukraine. Then the suspect was detained – a resident of Odesa, who, allegedly, hijacked a foreign vessel and demanded a ransom in the amount of $500 thousand for it.
According to the investigation, the Odesa resident was the Head of the security group of the bulk carrier JAEGER, which sails under the flag of the Marshall Islands. In July 2019, when the ship was in the western Indian Ocean, he armed himself with a rifle, seized the captain’s bridge, and then demanded a ransom in the amount of $500 thousand and a change in course to the port of Fujairah in the UAE.
Then the captain of the vessel gave an order to the chief mechanic to switch the engine into maneuvering mode, and presented the demand of the Ukrainian to the managers of the shipowner’s company. As a result of negotiations, 4 days later, representatives of the shipping company instructed the captain to give the malefactor $6,000 in exchange for handing over the weapons and unblocking the vessel.
Dumskaya journalists met with an eyewitness to this incident, who also worked as a security guard on the JAEGER vessel. According to him, the defendant has not received money from his Israeli employer (a private security firm) for the fourth month. After protracted negotiations, says the source of the publication, the accused went to extreme measures.
“He climbed onto the bridge of the vessel, took out a rifle from the weapon box – all weapons are stored there – and fired at the ceiling, demanding to finally pay him his salary, about six thousand dollars. At the same time, he promised that he would not leave the bridge until he saw the money,” said a member of the Dumskaya crew.
According to the source, the “Ukrainian pirate” did not demand half a million dollars or change course.
“He was on the bridge with a rifle for about a day. The captain contacted the shipowner and the security firm that hired the employee, but the money was never given to him. The next day, a team of guards entered the bridge and disarmed the accused. He was locked in his cabin, and in the nearest port he was simply disembarked. The local police did not detain him. He flew to Ukraine, and already here the SSU (Security Service of Ukraine) suddenly became interested in him,” the newspaper quotes.
According to Dumskaya, the case materials contain testimonies of witnesses, crew members, and some photographs dated April 15th, 2021, by which witnesses identified the suspect. There are video recordings sent by the maritime authority of the Marshall Islands – it was this foreign agency that informed the Ukrainian authorities about the “piracy”, but for some reason only six months after this incident.