Somali pirates free Kuwaiti oil tanker

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 14, 2011 12:18 AM
Somali pirates free Kuwaiti oil tanker

By Mohamed Ahmed

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somali pirates say they freed a UAE-flagged, Kuwaiti-owned oil tanker after a $12-million ransom was paid.

The 105,846 dead weight ton MV Zirku was captured on March 28 on its way to Singapore from Sudan with a crew of 29.

"We have freed the oil tanker after we received $12 million ransom and it has already sailed away," a pirate who gave his name as Rashid told Reuters late on Friday.

Andrew Mwangura, a Kenya-based former maritime official and now maritime editor of the Somalia Report confirmed the release, saying the crew were safe, but said he was unable to confirm whether money had been paid.

Somali pirates are making millions of dollars in ransoms from seizing ships in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden, despite the efforts of foreign navies to clamp down on such attacks.

Maritime piracy costs the global economy $12 billion a year according to researchers.

(Reporting by Mohamed Ahmed; Editing by James Macharia)