Somali pirates typically do not harm their captives because they expect to negotiate a lucrative ransom for the release of a vessel. But now they say they want to avenge the deaths of their comrades.
âWe never planned to kill but now we shall seek revenge,â a pirate who identified himself as Mohammad told Reuters by phone.
âWe shall never take a ransom from Korean ships, we shall burn them and kill their crew. We shall redouble our efforts. Korea has put itself in trouble by killing my colleagues,â he said from the pirate haven of Garad.
South Koreaâs navy rescued all 21 crew aboard the chemical carrier Samho Jewelry on Friday. The vessel belonged to Samho Shipping, whose oil supertanker Samho Dream was released in November after being held by Somali pirates for seven months.
The pirates said they had received a record ransom of $9.5 million for the release of the supertanker.
âWe have started taking the crew of [hijacked] ships inland and we have tightened our security. We lost great men in the fight with South Korean commandos,â said a pirate called Hussain.
It was not possible to verify the movement of hostages. A Kenya-based maritime official told Reuters pirates often transferred crews when panicked but expressed doubts over the threat to kill Korean crews.
âThey are jumpy right now and they could do anything. But their main objective is always money,â said Andrew Mwangura, head of the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme.