Somali pirates release cargo ships

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Somali pirates have released an Egyptian cargo ship, MV Suez, after receiving payment of US$2.1 million, pirates and a maritime source said. This comes days after they released the MV Zirku oil tanker for an alleged US$12 million ransom.

The Panama-flagged MV Suez, operated by Red Sea Navigation Company based in Egypt’s Port Said, was seized in early August last year, with a crew of 23.

A pirate who gave his name as Ali told Reuters late yesterday they had received the ransom and they had left the ship.

Andrew Mwangura, maritime editor of The Somalia Report, confirmed the release from the Kenyan port city of Mombasa.
“She is steaming out of Somali waters,” Mwangura told Reuters by telephone, also confirming that a ransom was paid.

On Friday the MV Zirku was released from pirate control after 73 days in captivity. She was pirated on the March 28, approximately 250 nautical miles South East of Salalah in the eastern part of the Gulf of Aden, according to the European Union Naval Force (EU Navfor).

The UAE flagged and Kuwaiti owned vessel was on its way to Singapore from Bashayer (Sudan) when she was pirated. The MV Zirku has a crew of 29, including 17 Pakistanis.
“We have freed the oil tanker after we received US$12 million ransom and it has already sailed away,” a pirate who gave his name as Rashid told Reuters late on Friday.

Andrew Mwangura, a Kenya-based former maritime official and now maritime editor of the Somalia Report confirmed the release, saying the crew were safe, but said he was unable to confirm whether money had been paid.

Somali pirates are making millions of dollars in ransoms from seizing ships in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden, despite the efforts of foreign navies to clamp down on such attacks.

Somali pirates have been preying on ships sailing in the waters off the lawless horn of Africa country and in the Gulf of Aden, raking in millions of dollars and driving up shipping costs. Maritime piracy costs the global economy US$12 billion a year according to researchers.



Here are details of ships still held by Somali pirates:
* SOCOTRA 1: Seized on December 25, 2009 in the Gulf of Aden. Yemeni-owned ship had six Yemeni crew.
* ICEBERG 1: Seized on March 29, 2010. Roll-on roll-off vessel captured 10 miles from Aden. Crew of 24.
* JIH-CHUN TSAI 68: Taiwanese fishing vessel seized on March 30. Crew of 14: Taiwanese captain, two Chinese and 11 Indonesians.
* Three Thai fishing vessels — PRANTALAY 11, 12 and 14 — hijacked on April 17-18. Total of 77 crew.
* OLIB G: Seized on Sept. 8. Maltese-flagged merchant vessel with 18 crew — 15 Georgians, three Turks.
* CHOIZIL: Seized on Oct. 26. South-African-owned yacht was hijacked after leaving Dar es Salaam. European Union anti-piracy task force rescued one South African but two other crew members were taken ashore and held as hostages.
* POLAR: Seized on Oct 30. Liberian-owned Panama-flagged 72,825-tonne tanker seized 580 miles east of Socotra. Crew of 24 — one Romanian, three Greeks, four Montenegrins, 16 Filipinos.
* ALBEDO: Seized on Nov. 26. Malaysian-owned cargo vessel was taken 900 miles off Somalia as it headed for Mombasa from UAE. Crew of 23 from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Iran.
* PANAMA: Seized on Dec. 10. Liberian-flagged container ship en route from Tanzania to Beira. Crew of 23 from Myanmar.
* ORNA: Seized on Dec. 20. The Panama-flagged bulk cargo vessel, 27,915 dwt, owned by the United Arab Emirates, was seized 400 miles northeast of the Seychelles.
* SHIUH FU NO 1: Seized Dec. 25. Somali pirates appeared to have seized the Taiwanese-owned fishing vessel near the northeast tip of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. The vessel had a crew of 26 Taiwanese, Chinese and Vietnamese nationals.
* VEGA 5: Seized before Dec. 31. Somali pirates hijacked the 140 dwt Mozambican-flagged fishing vessel about 200 miles southwest of the Comoros. There were two Spaniards, three Indonesians and 19 Mozambicans on board.
* BLIDA: Seized on Jan. 1, 2011. The 20,586-tonne Algerian-flagged bulk carrier was seized about 150 miles southeast of Salalah, Oman. The ship, with 27 crew from Algeria, Ukraine and the Philippines, was heading to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from Salalah with a cargo of clinker.
* HOANG SON SUN: Seized on Jan. 19. The 22,835-tonne bulk carrier, which is Mongolian flagged and Vietnamese-owned and had a crew of 24 Vietnamese nationals, was seized about 520 nautical miles southeast of the port of Muscat.
* SAVINA CAYLYN: Seized on Feb. 8. The 104,255-dwt tanker, Italian-flagged and owned, was on passage to Malaysia from Sudan when it was attacked 670 miles east of Socotra Island. It had five Italians and 17 Indians on board.
* SININ: Seized on Feb. 12. The Maltese owned and registered bulk carrier was seized with a crew of 13 Iranian and 10 Indian nationals in the North Arabian Sea. The 53,000 dwt vessel was on route to Singapore from Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.
* ALFARDOUS: Seized on Feb. 13. The Yemeni fishing vessel was believed to have been pirated close to Socotra Island in the Gulf of Aden and has a crew of eight.
* DOVER: Seized on Feb. 28. It was taken about 260 nautical miles north east of Salalah in Oman. The Panamanian flagged, Greek owned vessel was on its way to Saleef (Yemen) from Port Quasim (Pakistan) when it was attacked. The crew consists of three Romanians, one Russian and 19 Filipinos.
* SINAR KINDUS: Seized on March 16. The Indonesian flagged and owned bulk cargo carrier was pirated approximately 320 miles North East of Socotra in the Somali Basin. The ship, with 20 crew, was quickly used to launch further attacks.
* SUSAN K: Seized on April 8. The German-owned, Antigua and Barbuda-flagged vessel was travelling to Port Sudan from Mumbai in India when it was pirated 200 nautical miles northeast of Salalah, Oman. The 4,450 dwt vessel carried a crew of 10.
* ROSALIA D’AMATO: Seized on April 21. The Italian-owned bulk carrier was captured 350 miles (560 km) off the coast of Oman. The 74,500 tonne bulk carrier was on its way to Bandar Imam Khomeini in Iran from Brazil with a cargo of soya. The 21 crew consisted of six Italians and 15 Filipinos.
* GEMINI: Seized April 30. The Singapore-flagged chemical tanker was seized off the Tanzanian coast, 115 miles east of Zanzibar. The 29,871 dwt vessel carried 28,000 metric tonnes of crude palm oil from Kuala Tanjung in Indonesia to Mombasa in Kenya. The 25 crew consist of four from South Korea, 13 from Indonesia, three from Myanmar and five from China.