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CRIME

US Marines rescue German ship from pirates

US Marines rescued on Thursday a German-owned ship seized by pirates a day earlier, as part of multinational operations to stem piracy in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia, the US Fifth Fleet said.

US Marines rescue German ship from pirates
The Magellan Star. Photo: DPA

In a pre-dawn raid, Marines “boarded and seized control of the Antigua-Barbuda flagged German-owned vessel M/V Magellan Star from pirates who attacked and boarded the vessel early September 8,” a statement said.

No one was hurt in the operation, in which the Magellan Star’s 10-man crew was freed and nine pirates arrested.

The raid was launched from the USS Dubuque after a Turkish frigate – part of the multinational force – responded to a distress signal from the Magellan Star.

The hijack attempt began after the pirates boarded the 8,000-tonne container ship, Jürgen Salamon, a spokesman for the Quadrant shipping company in the northern German city of Hamburg, told AFP.

“The crew had closed down the engines and locked themselves away in a safe room which the pirates were unable to find,” he said.

After searching the ship for three hours the pirates picked up the phone and called the shipping company asking about the crew’s whereabouts, the spokesman said.

“They were told the crew was on holiday,” he said. “They then asked how to switch the engines back on, but were told they were broken.”

The 11-man crew, comprising two Russians, two Poles, and seven Filipinos, spent the time hidden away in a small, cramped safe room whose entrance was not immediately obvious, the spokesman said.

A multinational force was set up in January 2009 to protect shipping lanes and stamp out piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

Unofficial figures show 2009 was the most prolific year yet for Somali pirates, with more than 200 attacks – including 68 successful hijackings – and ransoms believed to exceed €50 million.

At least 23 foreign vessels with more than 411 crew members are still held by pirates, a piracy monitoring organisation, Ecoterra International, said in its latest report on August 31.

AFP/ka

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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