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Tanker carrying mostly Filipinos released by Somali pirates

ATHENS—A tanker seized by pirates in the Indian Ocean in October with 24 crew, mostly Filipino seafarers, was released on Friday after a “long and extremely distressing hijack” and the loss of a crewman, the ship’s company said.

“Paradise Navigation SA, operators and managers of the tanker MT Polar, hijacked some 600 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia on October 30, report that the vessel was released by the criminals holding her on Friday,” the company said in a statement.

The Athens-based operators gave no details on the release talks and argued that they had been left “virtually unaided” to deal with the pirates despite patrols by dozens of navy warships from various nations.

“It is a sad indictment of the international initiatives currently in place that they have proved ineffective in stopping piracy,” the company said.

“It is also doubtful that the political will exists to effect the necessary initiatives; accordingly the hijacking of vessels such as the Polar and its use as a ‘mothership’, attacking global shipping, is likely to continue unabated,” they argued.

When seized, the Panamanian-flagged 72,825 ton vessel had a crew of 24—16 Filipinos, three Greek, three Montenegrin, one Romanian,  and one Serbian, the company said.

But one of them, Prudente Cabral, died of a stroke in captivity in November.

Paradise Navigation said Somali pirates are currently holding 25 vessels — a quarter of which are used as “motherships” to launch further attacks — and 600 crew for which millions of dollars are demanded in ransom.

The average ransom per ship is increasing by 30 percent compared to last year, the company said.

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Tags: Crime , Filipino , piracy , seafarers , Somalia

  • Anonymous

    this is really mind bugling, these pirates are holding the ships in an open seas since they cannot navigate them in shallow waters; with all the navies & coast guard vessels with the UN’s members, how is it possible that these ragtags-pirates can hold these number of vessels except there is “conspiracy” with the UN (useless nation), ha? these pirates are only lightly armed compared to the navies of the UN’s members, ha? really mind bugling, besides the PH is always on the “free ride” which doesn’t send any help with the fact that most of those captives are filipino seafarers! there should be a replacement of Ph representative to the UN who is not doing anything for these captives filipino seafarers, he should put himself in the place of these seafarers and see how he should feel, ok?

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