Somali Pirate Offers to Release Danish Family in Exchange For Hand of Daughter, 13

Daily Mail (London), March 28, 2011

Life can be lonely on the high seas and one pirate has decided enough is enough, it’s about time he got himself a wife.

But the Somali pirate chief has taken a fancy to his 13-year-old Danish hostage–and he is so besotted with her he’s willing to let the rest of her family go free, and even forget the $5million dollar ransom his pirate colleagues demanded.

According to The Times, the pirate made the bizarre proposal during a conversation with a Danish reporter, who visited the African nation to track down the Johansen family who were taken hostage in the Indian Ocean more than a month ago.

Jan Quist Johansen, his wife Birgit Marie Johansen, their sons Rune and Hjalte and their daughter Naja, were kidnapped along with their two crewmen.

Their yacht was hijacked in the Indian ocean 260 miles from the coast just weeks from completing the end of their two-year voyage. They have been trapped on board the previously hijacked MS Dover, along with 20 other hostages, since February 24.

The reporter, from the tabloid Ekstra Bladet, was not allowed to speak to the family, but he spoke to the chief pirate who apparently revealed his plans for a bride.

The terrifying proposal puts more pressure on the authorities and hostage negotiators to free the family.

If the Danes give me permission to marry the girl, I will free the rest without any condition,’ Kristian Kornoe quoted the pirate chief as saying.

The reporter, who assumed the offer was never going to be accepted, said: ‘The father, Jan, seemed completely exhausted, even ill.

‘The rest of the family is tired and angry. The smell is unbearable . . . it is hot, the water is filthy.’

Henrik Ljung, a senior Danish psychologist, said ‘The offer of marriage was simply a way of applying psychological pressure, a show of force.

‘It’s an extremely effective tool if you want to raise money.’

Somali pirate Abdullahi Mohamed said earlier this month the gang responsible for the kidnap would kill all seven hostages if any attempt was made to rescue them.

The family, from Kalundborg, 75 miles west of Copenhagen, were planning to enter the Mediterranean through the Suez canal from the Red Sea.

That route would take the family through the Gulf of Aden, one of the most dangerous waterways in the world in terms of piracy.

It is the first time children have been captured.

Two days before they were captured Americans Jean and Scott Adam and Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle were killed after their boats were seized by Somali pirates.

It is hoped that the Danish crew will be able to survive the ordeal as was the case with British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler, who were finally released in November 2010 after 388 days in captivity in return for a secret £625,000 ransom.

Earlier on the same day that the Danish vessel was captured, Somali pirates also hijacked a Greek-owned cargo vessel with 23 crew on board.

The MV Dover was seized in the north Arabian sea, 260 miles north-east of the Omani port of Salalah.

There are three Romanians, 19 Filipinos and a Russian aboard the Panama-flagged vessel.

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  • Anonymous

    To the Somali, piracy is just doing business with the strange white man.

    The correct response would be to take his entire village and clan into custody, and offer to exchange their lives for the hostages.

    This is what he would understand.

  • Browser

    — Schoolteacher wrote:

    “The only rational policy is that followed by the Royal Navy for centuries: Hunt them down and hang them.”

    I am all for the Royal Navy’s way, the Old Fashioned way.

    But unfortunaately, times have changed. You cannot do that now when you have invited Muslims – by the millions! – to come and live among you. They would be assassinating the Royal Family, blowing up trains, rioting in the streets, creating mayhem.

    The fact is, our hands are tied. And it is WE OURSELVES who have tied our own hands. What kind of idiots are running our governments!!!

  • SNAviatrix

    Is it stupid to go cruising in pirate-infested waters? Absolutely. Does that justify what the pirates do? Absolutely not. Some people have such a one-dimensional way of thinking. They think that if a victim – of anything, whether it be piracy, rape, assault, murder – is anything less than a saint, “they had it coming.”

    As for the mine comment – that dog don’t hunt. A mine is an object. A tool. When triggered, it can’t help but go off. It does not have free will. Somali pirates do have free will. They chose to kidnap people. They chose to murder those four Americans. That means they can be held accountable. To treat a Somali like a land mine is to let him get away with anything and everything.

    While the stupidity of people who go cruising in pirate-infested waters disgusts me, the greatest part of my anger is reserved for the Somalis who commit the acts of piracy – and the governments who are fully capable of stopping them but do not.

  • German

    @ 4 — Schoolteacher

    Every kids knows that pirates were doing good money a few centuries ago. The only reason we didn’t have pirates for the last 100 years was that they had no rights at all.

    Jon Stewart once said: “Holy sh… even the UN, the liberal organization that wants to protect anyone, does not care about pirates. They have absolutely no rights at all.”

    The problem is that Merkel is a softy and Obama too.

  • Cousin Charlie from TN

    “While the report is tragic, the idea that people are still sailing or cruising in the area begs the question; what the hell are you people thinking?”

    “taken hostage in the Indian Ocean”

    That is not “an area”. I would call that a vast region.

    This poster has assumed that white flight is the only option everywhere, worldwide. Just let “them” have their way; then maybe “they” will be happy & not do bad things to “us”. Ugh.

  • June

    This has reached the point of insanity. When the “pirates” are pictured, they look like a bunch of adolescent thugs. I have never been able to understand how a small boatload of these terrorists can overtake huge tankers or even small yachts. Why aren’t people armed when they sail these dangerous waters and why can’t the thugs be overwhelmed by the crew of larger vessels?

    Why not send troops to Somalia where the pirates orginate and wipe them out, if we really want to go to war? Leave the civil wars to the countries fighting them, and concentrate on this place where Americans have been murdered. Until then, unnecessary travel in those waters need to be avoided. That’s as foolish as the students on spring break going into that other terrorist country, Mexico.

  • Anonymous

    @2 — Comment from Australia

    Residing in Australia I watch at least one news show each day.

    Sadly I have heard nothing at all about a murder by a Somali in Tassie. Then again it’s absolutely no surprise that the media should overlook this in favour of the daily Juliar and Sideshow Bob puppet show.

  • Jack Parsons, CA

    “Where is the combined strength of the US, Royal and EU Navies? Surely these disgusting lawless Muslim pirates (criminal gangs) could be put out of business in a few days.”

    –Comment from Australia.

    The US military should not be called on to rescue anyone who makes the idiot decision to sail through pirated-infested waters.

    It is not the job of the US Government to rescue fools who put themselves in harm’s way in areas or waters, international or otherwise, outside of US sovereign territory.

    How many pirates should we kill and how should we do it? How would we identify them?

    Attack by air, as in Libya? Has any war or battle been won by bombing from the air? Would you be willing to risk your life in a ground war in Somalis fighting guerillas armed with automatic weapons because of someone else’s stupidity? Would you expect me to risk mine? Who then?

    “The only rational policy is that followed by the Royal Navy for centuries: Hunt them down and hang them. It’s sad to see this Danish girl suffer, but that’s her parents’ fault.”

    I agree that it’s the parents’ fault for foolishly risking their daughter’s life. There is no excuse for such recklessness.

    With that said, again it is not the job of the US government to hunt down and hang foreign pirates no matter their heinous crimes.

    It is your job to either protect yourself with deadly force when knowingly entering dangerous, foreign territory or stay out of said territory.

    The British military, by the way, was in the habit of marching into capitals and hanging the leaders of countries with whom they had disagreements; but as Somalia has no government per se, only anarchy, even this tactic would not work.

    See Black Hawk Down for further information about fighting a guerrilla ground war in Somalia.

  • Enough

    June as to your question as to why most of the large commercial vessels are not armed it is because of deliberate policy by the shipping companies. They don’t want to shoulder the responsibility of how those weapons might be used. You should also know that modern cargo vessels have very small crews, maybe 12 people on a large container ship and maybe less on a tanker.

    Another factor for the shipping companies is that they have “outsourced” their labor just like other corporations so a vessel is crewed mostly by sailors from the Third World and often officered by a few Eastern Europeans. I don’t know of any cargo vessels that sail with European or American national crews.

    Personally if I was a captain from Poland I doubt I would trust some crew from Sri Lanka or India or whatever with weapons.

    For the small vessels used for “pleasure cruising” having weapons on board can cause lots of problems and even arrest and imprisonment at some ports of call. Many countries have strict gun laws so you have to decide if you want to risk their almost sure discovery at some hostile port of call or have the small comfort of a few small arms.

  • Zach Sowers

    The Russians seem to have solved their past problem with Somali pirates. They took a rather proactive approach:

    ‘Ten captured Somali piracy suspects are thought to have died after the Russian navy released them in an inflatable boat without navigational equipment, Russian media are reporting. An unnamed source told Russia’s Interfax news agency yesterday: “It seems that they all died.”‘

    http://tinyurl.com/2f9uhe3

  • Anonymous

    The lesson we should learn from this is: some rapes are more equal than others. I just read that Alabama issued an apology to a black “victim” of an alleged white-on-black gang rape 67 years ago. I have heard nothing about this case in the US media. Barring deaths, I expect to hear nothing of it. And even should death result, I doubt the sexual issue will be mentioned.

  • Schoolteacher

    21 Jack Parsons: It is and has always been the policy of the United States that all people from all countries have the right to sail in international waters, which means three miles off any coast, or closer if necessary to get to where you’re going, such as passing through Turkish waters to enter or leave the Black Sea. (We do recognize other countries’ exclusive fishing zones, up to 200 miles off their coasts.) That’s why we allowed the Soviet Navy to loiter off our naval bases, in recognition of the principle of freedom of navigation. And that’s why the suppression of piracy in international waters is the business of the U.S. Navy, and all navies. What they do onshore to their own people is not our business, but once they get three miles offshore, they have entered the civilized world and need to act like it.

  • Anonymous

    It would be so incredibly easy (and fun) to quickly end this piracy, by simply trolling. All that needs to be done is to arm and armor a rotating group of commercial and private ships and equip them with USA Seals. These fake ships could stop in various nearby ports and the “sailors” could go to bars and brag about their valuable cargo and their itineraries (i.e., chum). Then when they are attacked, they simply kill all the attackers, sink their boats, and sail on. Radar and satellites could identify mother ships, which should likewise be sunk, with no prior communication nor quarter given.

    After 1 year, when not a single pirate ship has returned to its home port, these thugs will get the message.

    We could also do what they did to some bank robbers once in Papua New Guinea: After killing them, they dropped them from 200 ft from a helicopter into the middle of town, where they lie rotting for days, as a reminder to others who might have a proclivity to stray from the law.

    As long as we continue to be “touch-freely” about this issue, piracy will continue. If you want to end the brutality of piracy, then you need to apply brutality to pirates.

  • Bull Market

    21 — Jack Parsons, CA wrote at 10:37 AM on April 1:

    “Where is the combined strength of the US, Royal and EU Navies? Surely these disgusting lawless Muslim pirates (criminal gangs) could be put out of business in a few days.”

    —Comment from Australia.

    The US military should not be called on to rescue anyone who makes the idiot decision to sail through pirated-infested waters.

    It is not the job of the US Government to rescue fools who put themselves in harm’s way in areas or waters, international or otherwise, outside of US sovereign territory. – J. Parsons

    —————————

    Agreed. Why should the US or Brits get involved? How is it our business?

    Deplorable as it is, it’s a Danish problem. Let the Danes handle it.

    Hopefully, maybe they’ll lose some of their starry-eyed enthusiasm for Somalis.

  • Anonymous

    He wants her hand in marriage?

    This story smacks of the usual sensationalist trash peddled in British tabloids.

    He doesn’t need to ask for her hand. He already has it! He has her whole life in his hands.

    Since when do pirates get polite and respect the social niceties?

  • Robert Marchenoir

    Brainwashed white liberals.

    In a similar incident, a French family was taken hostage in the area a while ago. French special forces mounted a sophisticated operation to rescue them. During the assault of the yacht, the commandos accidentally shot and killed one of the hostages.

    However, even after the tragic end of their adventure, the sailing family insisted that it was their Marx-given right to travel through this dangerous area in order to engage with poor downtrodden Africans.

    Even the pirates kept eliciting their sympathy, and they referred to them as “fishermen unable to make a living in the depleted waters” — presumably by the evil white Western man.

    Really, leftists are hopeless. Provided a non-white thug holds the blade, they would still find excuses for him at the very moment he would be slashing their throat. Those are diseased people.

  • MuayTyson

    I have to say I am disappointed in many of the posts here. People should be able to sail where they like with out fear of piracy in this century. It is our cowardly governments and the liberal citizenship who allow these miscreants to flourish.

    We all know the answer to solving this seemingly difficult(for the US, UN, EU, ETC.) problem. Destroy and kill every pirate and pirate enabler in the country and the area.

    Do Not! Set up a puppet government, do not give aid, and for God’s sake do not occupy the area. Every time there is an incident set the Armed Forces on them and kill as many people, break as much stuff, and confiscate all weapons and vehicles. Done problem solved I’m sure after the first time piracy in the region would not exist.

  • Anonymous

    From post # 27 “Ten captured Somali piracy suspects are thought to have died after the Russian navy released them in an inflatable boat without navigational equipment.”

    Hats off to the Russians, who know how to “reform” pirates. I suspect that their method results in an extremely low rate of recidivism.

    Here is what I want to hear from OUR Navy: “Unfortunately, during their attempt to capture the commercial ship, none of the pirates survived. Their mother ship also apparently developed a leak and sank, with all aboard presumably lost. In other news, the home villages and docked ships of the pirates were destroyed in a series of massive, unexplained explosions, which seemed to come out of nowhere. In nearby villages, many “fisherman” have taken up new careers in farming.”

  • Schoolteacher

    24 Zack: Many years ago, some fools in Beirut decided to kidnap some Russians. The Russians wouldn’t make a deal, so the kidnappers killed one of the hostages. The Russians located the brother of the chief gangster and castrated him. They got the rest of their people back safely.

    27 Anon: During WW1, there were vessels called Q ships, ordinary looking freighters packed with concealed weapons. I’m sure the technique would still work.

  • Jack Parsons, CA

    Thank you for the feedback. However:

    Just as Letters of marque won’t work (as introduced in congress in 2007), sending in the US Military is not the answer. It is horribly expensive, not cost-effective and would be akin to swatting at mosquitos on the open ocean, the reaction time too great in such a vast expanse.

    The only viable option is that shipping companies willing to sail in pirate-infested waters must be willing to bring on board contracted maritime security companies for voyages around the Horn of Africa to combat those who bring violence upon their crews.

    This is a case where violence must be met with violence — terms the Somali pirates understand. Let it be known widely that any small craft seen as threatening and that comes within 1000 yards of any vessel on the open seas risks being fired upon without mercy and sent to the bottom of the ocean.

    As for those who venture around the Horn of Africa on private yachts: Call the Darwin Awards!

  • Schoolteacher

    34 Jack Parsons: Why haven’t shipping companies hired ex-military gunmen? Are they afraid of escalating violence, with pirates using exocet missiles or something? Or can they not enter European ports with weapons aboard?

    I still like the idea of suitably disguised and armed small craft. We’ve so large a navy, with so many young officers who need real fighting experience. Repelling boarders with cutlasses and miniguns should do a lot to sort out the Halseys from the desk sailors.

  • Anonymous

    33 — Schoolteacher wrote:

    Zack: Many years ago, some fools in Beirut decided to kidnap some Russians. The Russians wouldn’t make a deal, so the kidnappers killed one of the hostages. The Russians located the brother of the chief gangster and castrated him. They got the rest of their people back safely.

    ——————

    Excellent! Unfortunately, the only language that thugs such as Somalis understand is STRENGTH. You have to meet (and exceed) violence with violence.

    If the pirates’ home vilages were bombed to smithereens, they would soon get the message and seek another source of livelihood.

    We can never win this so long as we play “nicey-nice” with them. They see our kindness and humanitarian concerns as weakness. They are laughing at us sappy, weak, Western fools.

  • Schoolteacher

    36 Anon: “…seek another source of livelihood.”

    It may well be that there is no other source of livelihood. Africa’s population has outgrown their resources. (That is, the resources they are capable of managing themselves.) If piracy is the alternative to starvation, then starvation is the alternative to piracy. There’s no way out for them, and no pleasant way out for the West. Protect out own, turn our eyes, and let nature take its course.

  • C

    Like everyone else, I’m attracted to the ideas of poster #27–send out decoy ships, manned by SEALs, and set rumors going about the value of its cargo. Reminds me of what the Detroit police department used to do (before the riots)–send a heavily armed cop, disguised as an old lady, into a neighborhood that had experienced an alarming number of muggings. Muggers attempting to take on the old lady were blown to bits. Did a lot to lower the crime rate.

  • Krister

    It is like “schoolteacher” says, hunt them down and hang them if the various navies had adopted that policy they would have ended the pirate threat in 2 weeks. The stupidity of these pirates amazes me, they actually attacked a Indian destroyer last year, oh look a grey ship lets shoot at it. With predictable results of course. What we need are a modern variant of Mungo Herdman or Robert Meynard.

  • Kenelm Digby

    The simple solution is for Denmark to kick out every single Somali immigrant – with no exception and with absolutely no compassion whatsoever – until the family is released.

    If they resist they can be landed by helicopter in the Somali desert with bottles of water.

    How sad is it that the descendants of the Vikings, thescourge of Europe have sunk into such inaction.

  • Anonymous

    Schoolteacher wrote:

    36 Anon: “…seek another source of livelihood.”

    It may well be that there is no other source of livelihood….There’s no way out for them, and no pleasant way out for the West. Protect out own, turn our eyes, and let nature take its course.

    —————-

    I agree. Somalis live in a barren desert area which is incapable of sustaining a large population – and yet they have one of the world’s highest birth rates!!! That should not be our problem, and we shouldn’t let it be. As you say, let Nature take its course (which means Malthus). We should not be responsible for their improvidence.

    But our European/Christian traditions (all just silly nonsense to them!)… say that we are our brother’s keeper. So we import them, and in doing so we pay for our own dispossession.

    Who are the winners in this picture?

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    I have to say I am disappointed in many of the posts here. People should be able to sail where they like with out fear of piracy in this century.

    No. People should not be able to sail where they like.

    The US military is not a global rescue service.

    The belief in global protection has disappeared almost everywhere except in America. Why do Americans believe they have the right to go anywhere in the world and expect that if they get into trouble the US military will come to their rescue?

    All others except Americans know the inherent risk of going into troubled areas; they go at their own risk, don’t expect their governments to send the military and if they do not like the risk, they don’t go.

    Why should American’s risk the lives of their sons and daughters to rescue those who foolishly venture into troubled, unstable areas?

    The Barbary Wars set the precedent for the military to be used as a rescue unit. Gunboat Diplomacy forced open the Japan to American business “interests.”

    The marines spent decades trying to protect the United Fruit Company’s banana plantations in Latin America leading noble Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, to proclaim:

    I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

    I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

    I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

    From War is a Racket: http://tinyurl.com/2y3hom

    Amen, Major General, Amen.

    Bon

  • Schoolteacher

    Bon: There is all the difference in the world between protecting American citizens in international waters and protecting American owned property in foreign countries. If Honduras decides that no non-Honduran may own land in their country, that is their right, just as we have a right to expropriate foreigners in our country. Let the courts and lawyers settle those matters. But Americans, and everyone else, have a right to sail freely anywhere outside the territorial waters of other nations. If we concede the Indian Ocean to Somalia, shall we next concede the Gulf of Mexico to Mexico, and the rest of the Caribbean to Cuba and Haiti? Allowing pirates to exist in international waters is like allowing Darks to establish no-go zones in our cities.

  • Browser

    Bon: There is all the difference in the world between protecting American citizens in international waters and protecting American owned property in foreign countries.

    All of that is entirely irrelevant in this case, as these yachters are Danish citizens, for whom the US bears no responsibility AT ALL.

    But Americans, and everyone else, have a right to sail freely anywhere outside the territorial waters of other nations.

    Perhaps so. But at their own risk. The US govt. cannot guarantee the safety of EVERYBODY.

    In this life, you take responsibility for your actions. You cannot pass on responsibility to the government, as if it were a big insurance company. Basically, you’re on your own. That is life.

    If we concede the Indian Ocean to Somalia, shall we next concede we the Gulf of Mexico to Mexico…

    What? Concede? Who are WE to “concede” anything to anybody? We don’t own them! As you’ve said, these are INTERNATIONAL WATERS. It is not our responsibility to patrol the world. Not beyond the 3-mile limit.Bon: There is all the difference in the world between protecting American citizens in international waters and protecting American owned property in foreign countries.

    All of that is entirely irrelevant in this case, as these yachters are Danish citizens, for whom the US bears no responsibility AT ALL.

    But Americans, and everyone else, have a right to sail freely anywhere outside the territorial waters of other nations.

    Perhaps so. But at their own risk. The US govt. cannot guarantee the safety of EVERYBODY.

    In this life, you take responsibility for your actions. You cannot pass on responsibility to the government, as if it were a big insurance company. Basically, you’re on your own. That is life.

    If we concede the Indian Ocean to Somalia, shall we next concede we the Gulf of Mexico to Mexico…

    What? Concede? Who are WE to “concede” anything to anybody? We don’t own them! As you’ve said, these are INTERNATIONAL WATERS. It is not our responsibility to patrol the world. Not beyond the 3-mile limit.

    PS. I’ll bet these Danes were some starry-eyed African afficionados who adored Somalis and such colorful peoples. I’ll also bet they’re now getting a good re-education about African reality. Let’s hope they come out of it OK, but wiser.

    PS. I’ll bet these Danes were some starry-eyed African afficionados who adored Somalis and such . I’ll also bet they’re now getting a good re-education about African reality. Let’s hope they come out of it OK, but wiser.

  • Schoolteacher

    44 Browser: It doesn’t matter if these bozos are Danes, or that they are bozos. The Danish Navy has the same obligation to protect American sailors, or Chinese sailors for that matter. Fighting piracy is the responsibility of all navies. Should we stand by idly until we determine the nationality of the victims? Nor does it matter if it’s the Indian Ocean or the English Channel or three miles out from Charleston. Shall we accept piracy as long as it falls below the equator, east of the Cape of Good Hope and west of the International Date Line? Will those boundaries be renegotiated every ten years, perhaps north to the Tropic of Cancer? The Horn of Africa is a major route of world commerce. It’s not just the U.S. that is working to keep these waters free of piracy, there are French, Russian, Indian, and British warships there too. No doubt there are other navies present that I haven’t heard about. Should they ignore Americans under attack? No, we don’t make it our business to sort out every fish thief in Indonesia or the Phillipines. No, you can’t guard every yacht and fishing boat, there are no guarantees, but you don’t look the other way either.

  • Anonymous

    The US should start issuing letters of mark to private companies to patrol those waters. Our capitalism would take the burden off the military. Just like Blackwater and other ngo’s lowered the cost in Iraq we could do the same there. Just keep the spineless reporters and liberals out of the way and let the guys do their job.

  • Schoolteacher

    46 Anon: Letters of Marque, not mark, fyi.