Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Somali Pirates Release Danish Ship Held 83 Days

Reported here:
A Danish cargo ship and its crew that were hijacked by Somali pirates in June have been released after 83 days in captivity after a ransom was paid, the Danish Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

The MV Danica White was carrying building materials from Dubai to Kenya when it was seized off Somalia in the world's most dangerous waterway.

"We have talked to the crew and they are feeling OK at this point," the Foreign Ministry's head of citizen services Lars Thuesen told a news conference.

"It's been a terrible experience for the hostages, being held for more than 80 days not knowing what was going on."

Danish TV2 News reported security firm Protocols said it had paid ransom of $1.5 million (UPDATE: Correction - apparently the ransom demand was approx $1.5 Mill, but the amount paid was probably less) for the release of the ship and crew.

The Foreign Ministry said the crew -- a captain, a navigator, a first mate and two less experienced sailors -- were in good health considering the circumstances but that they had been threatened by the armed pirates.

After being freed, the The Danica White headed for Djibouti about three days away, escorted by the French corvette Blaison. The crew will fly from there to be reunited with their families.
UPDATE: More at Protocol Security here.

UPDATE2: USS Arleigh Burke also involved in the escort to safety. See here.

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