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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Somali pirates release tug being held off Puntland

Pirates have released the Russian bound tug they've been holding for a couple of months, apparently after payment of ransom, as reported here:
Somali pirates released a Danish-owned tugboat that was held for more than a month after a ransom was paid, local officials said Tuesday.
The British captain, Irish engineer and four Russian crew aboard the Svitzer Korsakov are "safe and healthy," said Ahmed Said Aw-Nur, the fisheries and ports minister in Puntland,a semiautonomous region of northeast Somalia. Aw-Nur told The Associated Press that the ship was freed after its Danish owner "negotiated with the criminals and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for ransom." A regional official, who asked that his name not be used because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said US$700,000 (about €440,000) was paid. Aw-Nur condemned the paying of ransom "because it can encourage more piracy."
Aw-Nur is right, but the lame reaction of Puntland's "government" doesn't help either...related posts here and at the links therein.

If Puntland wants to stop pirates, they need to do it from the shore side.

UPDATE: BBC reports "anger" at ransom. Owner confirms release.

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