(Wikipedia) - On August 21, 2008, MV Iran Deyanat, an Iranian ship, owned and operated by IRISL (The Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines) was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden by 40 pirates with Kalashnikovs and RPGs. The crew of the ship numbered 29: a Pakistani captain, 14 Iranians including an engineer, 3 Indians, 2 Filipinos, and 10 Eastern Europeans. The ship was freed on October 10, and the crew was unharmed. The ship went underway bound to Oman and then to its final destination at Rotterdam.
The ship's cargo was minerals and industrial products such as iron ore. The Deyanat had departed from China with the intent of selling its cargo in Germany; The ship’s radar had failed to pick the pirates up. The men were firing in the air, and then they threw a ladder fitted with grappling hooks over the side of the ship and clambered aboard. They stormed all cabins and herded the entire crew into a small room, and told the captain to cut the engine. After the hijackers took control of the ship, they used the Deyanat to tow their boats along. They shuttled around unknown locations (purportedly to evade rival pirate groups) before meeting their boss, "Abdul Hakeem," and finally mooring off the coast of Eyl in Somalia which is allegedly the base of a crime syndicate.
In the late 2000s, Eyl became a pirate haven, with more than a dozen ships being held captive by pirate crews. However, by 2010, intensive security operations by Puntland military forces reportedly managed to force out the pirate gangs from their traditional safe havens in the hamlet as well as adjacent settlements, with the pirates now primarily operating from a few towns in the neighboring Galmudug region.
In fact, multiple other pirated ships were moored near the Deyanat. The number of pirates guarding the ship included 50 on shore and 50 on board.
Conditions aboard the ship:
The sailors aboard the ship were limited to two slices of moldy bread and a ration of two cups of water. Though the pirates took $10,000 from the ship's captain and the crew's cell phones, clothes, and possessions, they were allowed to call home for the first two days after the hijacking. The pirates carried guns at all time and negotiations were conducted "at the officer's level," so most of the crew knew nothing of the pirates' demands.
A ransom was set at $2 million, and the Iranian news channel Press TV said that the United States, believing that the ship may contain uranium, offered $7 million to board and search the ship. (US officials reportedly would not comment.) At one point the Sunday Times reported that the IRISL paid $200,000 in the first of a series of ransom payments, but the Iranian company denied the claim. The ship "was supposed to be released, but now they are saying the $200,000 was for facilitation only. They want more money for the ransom," said Andrew Mwangura, of the Kenyan-based East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme.
According to Lloyd's List, the IRISL ultimately paid $2.5 million to free the ship.
The IRISL, which owns the ship, has been designated for proliferation activity by the U.S. Treasury office, thereby freezing its assets and banning American trade with it, including food and medical supplies, in accordance with US sanctions of Iran. The US accuses the shipping line of falsifying documents and using deceptive schemes to shroud its involvement in illicit commerce. Though the ship carried industrial contents such as iron ore, strange speculations were made. Finally, the ship berthed at the destination listed on its manifest, Rotterdam, unloading food and minerals.
The MV Iran Deyanat arrived at Rotterdam on November, 11 2008. A "multi-disciplinary team comprising inspectors from the port authority, customs and harbor police boarded and searched the ship" and found no hazardous substances on board. The paperwork was in order and the ship was unloaded. Lloyd's List reported that the ship’s charterer—German-based Hinrichs denied any evidence of pirates falling ill during the hijacking. This contradicts the claims, however, that local officials made to sources such as The Times of South Africa and Reuters.
It's been however a well-documented fact that the mainstream western media fabricate content to be used for illicit purposes, some of which pushed nations to war as was the case of WMD in Iraq.
Increasing sophistication of pirate operations, vessels, weapons, and communication have raised serious doubts about state-sponsorship of pirating; especially considering the fact that nations who are hostile towards Iran have a dark history of pirating and slave-trade.