German-owned ship paid 1.1 mln USD ransom to Somali pirates 2008-09-12 15:09:42   Print

    NAIROBI, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Owners of the German-owned cargo ship which was released on Thursday by the Somali pirates paid 1.1million U.S. dollar ransom, a regional maritime official confirmed on Friday.

    Andrew Mwangura, the coordinator of the East Africa Seafarers Assistance Program (SAP), said the BBC Trinidad cargo ship, flying the flag of Antigua and Barbuda, which was seized on Aug. 21, is currently en route to Muscat.

    "Owners of the BBC Trinidad paid 1.1 million U.S. dollars for the release of the ship. The vessel is en route to Muscat and all the 13 crew members are safe," Mwangura told Xinhua by telephone.

    Meanwhile, Mwangura said a Spanish fishing boat belonging to a Basque firm escaped an attempted hijacking by pirates Thursday in international waters in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia.

    The vessel was 325 miles off the coast of Somalia when three speed boats approached the trawler but it managed to escape by fleeing out to the open sea, the regional government of Spain's northeastern Basque region said.

    The fishing boat is based in the Basque port of Bermeo and is owned by Pevasa, the same company that saw one of its trawlers hijacked off Somalia by pirates armed with grenade launchers in April.

    The ship and its crew of 26 were released after being held for six days. The Spanish government and the company never said if a ransom was paid

    The Horn of Africa nation's coastline is considered one of the world's most dangerous stretches of water because of piracy.

    Somalia is at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden, which leads to the Red Sea and the 166-kilometer Suez Canal, one of the world's most important shipping channels.

    The country has been plagued by factional fighting between warlords and hasn't had a functioning central administration since the 1991 ouster of former dictator Mohammed Siad Barre.

Editor: Du
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