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In addition to our four-score and more, hard-nosed, tough-as-nails correspondents covering the brutal beat of Somalia,Somali Report also scours eBay and Craigslist as a service for our readership. We know that whether it's that giant AK 47 vinyl decal for your pirate den, trendy al Shabaab tea towel or slightly used armored SUV deals are to be had.
We are thrilled to offer the latest toy "for the adventurous man who has everything" direct from the owner. Buy this combination anti-piracy AND relaxing dive oceanographic vessel with the natty name of Indian Ocean Explorer 2 before it goes up on ebay.
Let's "dive" in to the fascinating back story.
In 2009 the 116 ft long, German-built, 12-passenger expedition vessel Indian Ocean Explorer (IMO 5342984) was hijacked by pirates sometime around April Fool's Day after dropping off passengers at Ascuncion. The Explorer was a popular live aboard dive ship and was well equipped for pleasure diving in Aldabra and Cosmoledo area.
The pirates demanded one million dollars. After owner Thierry Thevenet paid $450K in June of 2009, the crew of 7 Seychellois were free to go. Overall a fairly reasonable and quick resolution for seven lives and a profitable rental oceanographic ship. But the ship wasn't included in the deal.
According to pirate negotiator Abdullahi Qaaray, the pirates released the hostages but insisted they burned the ship, “We set fire to it three nights ago.” The ship was destroyed off the coast of Haradhere and has never been recovered. There were some comments about the insurance covering the ransom but no proof was ever brought forward.
The truth comes from the pirates themselves. Qaaray said that destroying the ship was not a condition set by the owner for the ransom. He insisted that the pirates burned the valuable marine exploration vessel so it could not be recovered. A gunman, Abdi Ganey, also confirmed the ship was destroyed. AFP reported his version as, "We released the hostages after an agreement was reached but the owners were really reluctant to negotiate. They paid us a small amount and there was no way they were getting the ship, it had to go."
In January the tour operator was proud to announce that, "The near completion of the Indian Ocean Explorer II. For those of you who followed the drama relating to the hijacking of the Indian Ocean Explorer I last year will be pleased with this news. With this news comes the exciting prospect that the destinations of The Eparses Islands and Madagascar will come back on line for 2010."
Paris-based owner Thierry Thevenet had purchased a 1966 built, Canadian Coast Guard Collingwood Expedition Ship which had been refitted for its American owner in Jacksonville, Florida. In 2011 Thevenet did another spruce up for the dive charter market and by the time the expensive overhaul was done, the 13 passenger pleasure dive ship headed out to an uncertain future.
Now the Indian Ocean Explorer 2 sits unbooked and for sale in Tanzania. Clad in much drabber colors and for sale appropriately as an anti-piracy escort vessel. Somali Report can confirm that the price is a steal since these rugged ships go for just under $4M.
See all the pics and refit specs here.
"As an Ex-Military Ship she is Ideal for use as a Patrol Vessel or an Operation Base Vessel in any sea or climate, she is reliable and would be a suitable asset to any private maritime security company concerned with maintaining and/or enforcing fisheries, boundaries, off shore oil drilling installations.
This is a small cruise vessel that can transport your teams in comfort and safety to destinations inaccessible to most cruise vessels. With its 960 tons, it is small enough to go where large ships can't and enough large to offer comfort, stability and security. 3 Rib-boats launched by crane. Towing gear 6ton.m Hyperbaric Chamber, diving compressors and scuba gear Crew of 12 with very good experience in Indian Ocean waters. Accommodation for 25 professionals (security guards) with full A/C cabins and large rest lounge Cruise speed 10kts, max speed 12 knts, Range: 3500+ miles @ 10 knots. Her Ice Class III Hull, security in adverse conditions such as all water tight hatches and potential for extended range of service of 3,500 miles at 10kts , qualifies her as a First Class Research Vessel or Security and Support Vessel.
With 14 pax cabins (accommodation for 25 personnels), two dining areas and a large lounge bar fully equipped, all stainless Galley with walk-in cooler, walk-in freezer and adjoining all-stainless bakery/pantry, she would serve well as a Small Ship to carry and support maritime security professionals."