Somalia pirates said they had released the Thai-flagged Thai Union 3 ship yesterday after receiving a $3 million ransom.
The tuna fishing vessel belonging to Asia’s biggest canned tuna exporter, Thai Union Frozen Products, was seized on October 29, 2009 with 23 Russians, two Filipinos and two Ghanaians on board.
“We have released the ship after we received $3 million in ransom,” a pirate named Hassan told Reuters. “The ship is named Thai Union, its crew have safely moved from the Somali coast.”
Somalia pirate gangs some made up of former fisherman angered by the presence of foreign fishing fleets in Somali waters and their backers within Somalia and abroad have made tens of millions of dollars in ransoms.
The Thai Union was captured by men in two skiffs about 200 miles north of the Seychelles and 650 miles off the Somali coast.
“It was a fishing ship and now it has sailed away peacefully,” Hassan added.
The Somali brigands have been terrorising the east African coast despite a flotilla of foreign navy vessels patrolling the Indian Ocean and the busy Gulf of Aden shipping lanes linking Europe to Asia.
In the latest attack, a gang hijacked a Marshall-Islands-registered tanker off Madagascar last Friday.
Pic: Somali pirate