MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A Somali pirate says the Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned bulk carrier MV Free Goddess has been released after payment of a $2.3 million ransom.
Bile Hussein, a pirate based in Garacad in the semi-autonomous Puntland region of Somalia, said Friday that they initially wanted to be paid $9 million after they captured the ship. He says months of negotiations led to the lowering of the ransom and they released the ship on Thursday.
Free Bulkers SA, the ship's owners, did not comment about the ransom claims but said all 21 Filipino crew are well. They said the ship was seized on Feb. 7, 2012 in the Arabian Sea. Hijackings by Somali pirates have significantly reduced because of armed guards on ships and an international naval armada that carries out onshore raids.