Somali pirates free 21 Filipinos
MOGADISHU—A Liberian-flagged Greek-owned ship and its crew of 21 Filipinos held hostage by pirates for eight months have been released following the payment of a $2.3 million (around P95 million) ransom, a Somali pirate said Friday.
Bile Hussein, a pirate based in Garacad, Somalia, said the brigands initially demanded $9 million for the return of the bulk carrier MV Free Goddess. Months of negotiations led to the lowering of the ransom and the ship was released on Thursday, Bile said.
The ship’s owners, Free Bulkers SA, did not comment on the ransom claim but confirmed the ship had been released and all its 21 Filipino crew men were well.
The ship was seized on Feb. 7, 2012, in the Arabian Sea carrying a consignment of steel coils from the Black Sea but its owners did not give its destination or source of its cargo.
Hijackings by Somali pirates have significantly been reduced in the last few years because many ships now carry armed guards and an international naval armada carries out onshore raids.
But pirates continue to hold six ships and 156 crew members, many of them Filipinos.
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