Tanker and crew freed after pirates get €8.7m ransom
Published 22/12/2011 | 05:00
Somali pirates released an Italian-owned oil tanker and its 22 crew yesterday after receiving a multi-million dollar ransom.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti expressed "great satisfaction" at the release of the Savina Caylyn tanker and its crew of five Italians and 17 Indians.
The tanker had been seized in early February.
"We have just received the remaining $3m (€2.29m) of the agreed $11.5m (€8.7m) ransom. We have abandoned the ship," a pirate calling himself Abdiwali said from Haradhere, one of the pirates' biggest coastal bases.
The pirates released the tanker's Indian crew members after the first ransom drop was made, Abdiwali said.
The pirates waited for the second instalment before releasing the five Italian sailors a few hours later.
There was no comment in Italy over the ransom.
Seaborne gangs are making tens of millions of dollars in ransoms, and despite successful efforts to quell attacks in the Gulf of Aden, international navies have struggled to contain piracy in the Indian Ocean owing to the vast distances involved.
Andrew Mwangura, a former regional maritime official and maritime editor of the online Somalia Report, said it was not yet clear if the tanker had begun sailing away from the Somali coast.