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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Somali pirates get ransom, release ship

Reported here, more rewarding of piracy:
Somali pirates have released a cargo vessel they seized off the coast of the Horn of Africa country after a businessman paid a $25,000 ransom, a maritime official said on Sunday.

The United Arab Emirates-flagged ship, which was heading to the port city of Kismayu carrying goods for businessmen there, was seized on April 27 by Somali gunmen and commandeered to a coastal town near Harardheere, 400 km (250 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu.

One crew member was killed and two others seriously injured during the hijacking. The pirates freed the MV Al-Taj, its Libyan captain and nine Indian crew, most of them from Mumbai, on Saturday.

"We are informed that the Kismayu businessman paid $25,000 so that the gunmen could release the vessel and her crew," said Andrew Mwangura, of the Seafarers Assistance Programme, a Kenyan-based organisation representing sailors in the region.

"She is now (sailing) back to Dubai with her cargo intact," he said in a statement.
One crewman dead, two wounded - but thank goodness the cargo is intact...

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