Pirates Holding 12-Year-Old Girl for Ransom

Released hostage says he saw child, other women aboard vessel
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2009 9:29 AM CST
A Dec. 24, 2005, photo of the Ariana leaving port in Santos, Brazil. Pirates have been holding the vessel since May, along with its crew and, according to this report, at least one child.   (AP Photo/Rafael Ferreira Viva)

(Newser) – A just-released pirate hostage says the Somalian scallywags are holding a 12-year-old Ukrainian girl captive aboard the British ship Ariana. Captain Ricardo Blach, whose ship, the Alakrana, was released last week after six weeks of captivity, says the pirates at one point brought him aboard the Ariana, where he met the girl, along with her mother and father, an Ariana crew member.

Her mother begged Blach to take her daughter, he told a Spanish newspaper today. “I told her that I couldn’t. On her ship, the Ariana, there were 12 pirates. On mine, 30. I have not stopped thinking about this girl, about the women in this boat.” The Ariana and her 24 crew members have been in pirate clutches since May. Blach says two other women are aboard: a cook, and a sailor’s wife.