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Saturday, April 08, 2006

UPDATE ON Somali pirate captured Korean fishing trawler

Initial report of capture of Korean fishing trawler here. In an update, I suggested the Koreans just send some money... In a second post on the topic here, I noted that some of the Somali pirates claim they are simply protecting Somali fishing grounds from foreign intruders.

Now things are progressing into a negotiation phase...

First, the ROK is seeking a dialogue with the pirates as reported here.
Secondly, the pirates are demanding $400,000 for the release of said vessel, as reported here:
Somali pirates are demanding $400 000 for the release of a South Korean fishing vessel seized with a crew of 25 Asians this week off the coast of the lawless nation, elders said on Friday.

Village elders -- the traditional power base of rural Somalia -- in the area near where the ship is being held said the gunmen who commandeered the vessel were seeking payment of a "fine" for illegal fishing and not a ransom.

"This is not a vessel that brought humanitarian aid to Somalia, it is not a commercial ship passing through international waters," said one elder taking part in negotiations to free the Dong Won 628 and its crew.

"It came to take our marine resources maybe by making deals with the wrong people, who claim to be national officials," he told Agence France-Press by phone from the port of Obbia, about 400km north of Mogadishu where the ship is believed to be held.

"I can personally say that $400 000 would be acceptable, a fine offer on both sides," said the elder, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "This is not a ransom but a fine for illegally fishing in Somalia."

Somali pirates have in the past demanded a $300 000-dollar "fine" and $1 000 per crew member for the release of ships and sailors they have seized for alleged illegal use of Somalia's waters.

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