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Russian Sailor Wounded by Pirates Prepares for Surgery

Russian Sailor Wounded by Pirates Prepares for Surgery 04.09.2012
Text: LifeNews
Photo: kerdos.gr
A Russian sailor suffered in pirate attack on the Greek oil tanker Energy Centurion will undergo surgery operation to extract a bullet fr om a leg.

The 20-year old student Vyacheslav Prudnikov, a sailor on the Greek-operated tanker Energy Centurion recently pirated in the Gulf of Guinea needs an urgent operation. One of pirates accidentally shot his leg when recharging the gun.

The sailor's father Mikhail Prudnikov told Life News that his son was in the hospital of Togo's capital city Lome being prepared for operation.

"The bullet is stuck in his leg, he needs surgical treatment. He has not been operated so far because there were no surgeons in the weekend", Prudnikov said.

Togolese authorities are questioning all crewmembers of the hijacked ship including Vyacheslav Prudnikov, suspecting them of being in cahoot with pirates.

According to the sailor's father, that was his first voyage; he is a third-year student of a nautical college.

"My son had to pass half-year training, but there was no vacancy of motorman, and he had to take sea as a mess steward", said Mikhail Prudnikov. "But he was glad to serve even a steward. We bundled him and even took a laptop on credit to communicate with him", he added.

According to Mikhail, he knew about the ship's capture from his son. A cellphone message saying "We're pirated" came from him early that morning.

"And then he sent another message saying "Mom, I swear, it's true!" Mikhail said. "We had absolutely no idea he was lying under fire. Take note, the crew was captured and released not in the way it was reported in Russian media.

According to the wounded crewman, pirates were tough and beat the sailors all the time. They got on board the tanker presenting themselves as coast guard officers. The shipmaster understood the deception only when sea robbers were on board. At that time he sent a distress call. Togolese coast guard boats tried to fight the pirates off. Finally, the crew happened to be between two fires.

"Having captured the ship, pirates beat us for 6 hours, shoot under our feet, then drove us together in the smokeroom", the sailor told Life News. "That was just wh ere I caught the bullet. One pirate was recharging his automatic rifle, and it shot on accident. The bullet hit my leg. Everyone fluttered then. Pirates dashed to calm the sailors assuring they were not going to kill us. Their leader even apologized to me", said Vyacheslav Prudnikov.

The shipmaster's second mate gave him the first aid.

When French airplanes appeared above the ship in several hours, pirates drew a boatswain and wounded Prudnikov on the deck as a human shield. Pirates were afraid of an assault.

"As much as pirates, we were scared of an assault and that robbers would shot us down", admitted the sailor. "But the shipmaster kept his chin up leaving behind those who tried to set us free. On the high sea we even repainted the ship's name when pirates were pumping out diesel fuel we carried".

According to the young sailor, he and his friends were scared that pirates would kill them when leaving the tanker. However, the leader of pirates said they were not about to have problems, since each of them had just earned $80,000 for stolen diesel fuel.

Currently, Vyacheslav Prudnikov is in the hospital. Russian envoys are keeping in touch with him. Meanwhile, the rest crewmen are still on board the tanker facing problems with food and fuel Ц pirates stole everything.

Oil tanker Energy Centurion was captured by pirates off Benin in the Gulf of Guinea. The sailors were held hostages for three days. Sea robbers let the crew free only after pumping out diesel fuel for $54 mln.

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