Kidnapped by pirates: “If you don’t cough up $600,000 they will cut off my head”


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“Either shell out $600,000 by Feb. 26, or I will be beheaded.”
Speaking is Jurgen Kantner, 71-year-old German skipper kidnapped last November by pirates from the ISIS-affiliated terrorist group Abu Sayyaf near Laparan Island (Philippines), in a gruesome video posted by the group on Telegram. Hoax? Absolutely not: pirates mean business; last year two Canadians were beheaded after their government did not compromise with the criminals. Kantner 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.

Jurgen Kantner in the video posted on Telegram by pirates

Unfortunately, this is 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.

Jurgen Kantner with his wife Sabine Merz

To better understand Kantner’s philosophy, one must scroll through a lengthy interview conducted by the skipper and his wife with the German magazine 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 had told them that those were not safe waters, citing instances of boats being attacked even in calmer areas such as the Canary Islands and Corsica

(image source,



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