It ended in the worst way the story of Jurgen Kantner, 71-year-old German skipper kidnapped last November by pirates of the ISIS-affiliated terrorist group Abu Sayyaf near Laparan Island (Philippines): he was beheaded (a video released online by the jihadist group confirms this). Last Feb. 14 in another gruesome video Kantner announced that if his government did not shell out the equivalent of $600,000 by Feb. 26, the terrorists would cut off his head, and they did. The sailor had been kidnapped in the roadstead while aboard his 15-meter steel boat, “The Rockall”: also with him was his wife Sabine Merz, who was gunned down while trying to fend off pirates at gunpoint.
TERRORISTS WITHOUT MERCY
Between April and June 2016, Abu Sayyaf beheaded Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall after negotiations for their release broke down. Currently, according to Manila authorities, the group is holding 20 hostages: seven Malaysians, six Vietnamese, four Filipinos, two Indonesians and one Dutchman.
KIDNAPPED ONCE BEFORE
This was not the first time for the elderly German: back in 2008, he was taken hostage off the coast of Yemen by Somali pirates along with his wife, but on that occasion, after 52 days of captivity, the German government shelled out nearly half a million dollars to free them. German authorities had advised the Kantners against returning for the boat, but nearly eight years later the headstrong couple had gone to retrieve it in Somalia, eventually heading to the Philippines. “What am I doing in Germany,” Kantner had said in an interview, “after 32 years on my boat, I have no one there.” He had also added that he knew what he was getting into, “I know it’s almost suicide,” and added that he would pray that the pirates would not board him again.
HEEDLESS OF THE DANGER
To better understand Kantner’s philosophy, one must scroll through a lengthy interview conducted by the skipper and his wife with the German magazine Yacht.de after their release in 2008. The two sailed off the coast of Yemen heedless of the danger of piracy, and had rejected the advice of those who told them those were not safe waters, citing instances of boats being attacked even in calmer areas such as the Canary Islands and Corsica.
(image sources bild.de, philstar.com)