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.