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21 Jun, 2008 00:49

No food or water for Russians held captive by pirates

The situation for Russian sailors on board the ship captured by pirates off Somalia's coast last month is deteriorating fast. The captain of the German-owned Lehmann Timber ship was able to contact his family, and his father says the sailors have no food,

“The pirates are tired of waiting for a ransom from the ship owner. So they vent it on the crew members. The seamen have been lying without moving for days on end now,” says Vladimir Bartashev, captain’s father.

The ship, seized three weeks ago, could run out of fuel within two days.

Besides the fifteen-man crew from Russia, Ukraine, Estonia and Myanmar, there are about 25 pirates on board.

Reports suggest some of the pirates are constantly under the influence of drugs and they're starting to squabble with each other.

The ship's owner has reportedly collected money demanded by the pirates and is now looking into ways of delivering the ransom, as time is crucial to the success of the rescue operation.