$2.6 million paid for release of hijacked ship


A ransom of $2.6 million was paid to Somali pirates in November 2011 to secure the release of the hijacked cargo ship MV Blida.

The Saudi Arabian owner of the Algerian ship recently confirmed that the ransom was paid. Ghaith Rashad Feraoun said that he withdrew cash from Lebanon, which was dropped to the ship from a small aircraft, ENCA reports.

Feraoun said that since the Algerian government has a policy of non-negotiation with hostage-takers, he decided to negotiate for the crew’s release himself.

The crew comprised 17 Algerians, six Ukrainians, two Filipinos, one Jordanian and one Indonesian. They were captured along with their ship on January 1, 2011, whilst sailing from Oman to Tanzania. Two of the hostages were released in October 2011 due to poor health.

The Somali pirates initially demanded an $8 million ransom for the ship’s release.

According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), as of May 14, Somali pirates are still holding five vessels and 71 hostages. Globally, the IMB has recorded 100 incidents and four hijackings this year.