Sailors ask Yushchenko’s help to free vessel seized by pirates

The head of the Russian Sailors Trade Union is asking Ukraine's President to help free the crew of the cargo ship Ariana, hijacked off Somalia.

According to Igor Pavlov, 24 Ukrainian crew members on board the Greek-owned vessel are running out of essential supplies and all of them need help.

“The ship has run out of water and food, fuel will soon be finished and there is no medication,” he said in his address on the union website. “One of the women aboard had a miscarriage in the fifth month of pregnancy and she needs professional medical assistance urgently.”

Pavlov said that pirates threaten to kill everyone when fuel runs out and asked the Ukrainian president, Victor Yushchenko, to intervene.

“The Government should not leave its citizens in trouble,” Igor Pavlov said. “We ask to give sailors a chance to return home safe and sound as soon as possible and to take all measures possible to make the negotiation process faster.”

Ariana was captured on May 2, 250 miles off the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean. The vessel was traveling from Brazil to the Middle East, carrying over 30 tons of soy.