Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Somali Pirates: Ransom Paid, Turkish Merchant Ship Released

Ransom paid, ship freed:
Somali pirates freed a Turkish ship on Monday after a pirate source said the hijackers received a $1.5 million ransom.

A regional maritime official confirmed the bulk carrier Horizon-1, which was seized on July 8 with 23 Turkish crew members on board, had been released.

"We accepted $1.5 million to release the Turkish ship," one of the pirates, who gave his name as Abshir, told Reuters by telephone from the gangs' stronghold of Eyl.

"We delayed leaving because of accounting: we were sharing out the money. We disembarked from the ship this afternoon."

Residents in Eyl said associates of the pirates held a big party to celebrate the ransom payment.

"There is too much noise. The pirates' friends in Eyl are celebrating. Some have gone to welcome the pirates who took the ransom," local man Abdiqadir Mohamed told Reuters by phone.

Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based East African Seafarers' Assistance Program confirmed the ship, which was believed to be carrying sulfate when it was hijacked, had been released.

Ship photo from Shipspotting.com by Andreas Schlatterer. Used in accord with Shipspotting rules.

Initial reports of capture here and here.

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