Somali pirates have freed the 18-man crew of a Maltese-flagged chemical tanker after the payment of a $4 million ransom, the maritime editor of the Somalia Report said on Monday.
Andrew Mwangura, an authoritative source on piracy, said the crew – three Turks and 15 Georgians – sailed to the Kenyan port of Mombasa in a tugboat after their release last week, while the tanker, the MV Olib G, was abandoned off the Somali coast.
The Greek-owned and -operated chemical tanker was seized in the Gulf of Aden while on its last trip before the scrapyard, according to Mwangura, a former regional maritime official.
The seas off Somalia have been plagued by piracy in recent years as Somali gangs have exploited 20 years of lawlessness in their Horn of Africa country by seizing vessels and demanding huge ransoms for them and their crews.
Kenya’s military says piracy has become less frequent since it sent forces into neighbouring Somalia last October to fight al Shabaab rebels and stationed its navy off its southern coast.
The empty tanker with its 21 crew was seized south of Salalah port in the Gulf of Oman. The 52,455 dwt Marshall Islands-flagged tanker is managed by Mumbai-based Anglo-Eastern Ship Management.
The Olip G merchant vessel was also released this month. It was seized in September 2010 with a crew of 18.
Here are details of ships held by Somali pirates:
- SOCOTRA 1: Seized on Dec. 25, 2009, in the Gulf of Aden.
The Yemeni-owned ship had six Yemeni crew.
- ICEBERG 1: Seized on March 29, 2010. Roll-on roll-off
vessel captured 10 miles from Aden. Crew of 24.
- CHOIZIL: Seized on Oct. 26, 2010. South African-owned
yacht hijacked after leaving Dar es Salaam. One crew member was
rescued by an EU anti-piracy task force but two others were
taken ashore as hostages and have not been heard from since.
- ALBEDO: Seized on Nov. 26, 2010. Malaysian-owned cargo
vessel taken 900 miles off Somalia as it headed for Mombasa from
UAE. Crew of 23 from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Iran.
- ORNA: Seized on Dec. 20, 2010. The Panama-flagged bulk
cargo vessel, 27,915 dwt, owned by the United Arab Emirates, was
seized 400 miles northeast of the Seychelles. Somali pirates
rescued 19 crew members of the Orna after their hijacked ship
caught fire last June.
- LIQUID VELVET: Seized on Oct. 31, 2011. The Marshall
Islands-flagged Greek-owned chemical tanker was sailing from
Suez and heading to India when it was seized in the Gulf of
Aden. The 11,599 dwt, owned by the Greek firm Elmira Tankers,
was carrying 22 people on board.
- ARIDE: Seized November 2011. The fishing vessel was captured 65 miles west of Mahe. The two Seychelles crew are
being held hostage by Somali pirates.
- ENRList of seized vesselsICO IEVOLI: Seized on Dec. 27, 2011 .
Ship-owner Marnavi said that the 16,631-tonne chemical tanker had been seized by pirates off the coast of Oman in the Arabian sea. The tanker had 18 people on board including six Italians, five Ukranians and seven Indians. The vessel is carrying a cargo of caustic soda and had left the United Arab Emirates bound for the Mediterranean.
Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre/Lloyds