Somali pirates have on Wednesday released a UK-Owned Wheat Bulk Ship after it was seized on 22nd October 2009. A multi million ransom was said to have been paid according to a marine biologist from the central Somali coast. MV AL KHALIQ was seized on 22 Oct 2009, approximately 180 miles west of Seychelles. The crew consisted of twenty four Indian sailors and two Burmese nationals. Sources say that an estimated $3.1 million was paid to the pirates by the British ship owner.
The vessel with over 35,000 metric tons of wheat grain for Mombasa, Kenya has now sailed free from the Somali coast near Harardere with all crew on board apparently being fine, given the circumstances. The ship, however, had to be refuelled to reach Mombasa, where she is expected in around 5 day’s time. MT APLHA PINA was sent with fuel from Mombasa and is now escorting the vessel to the Kenyan port. The Gulf of Aden, off the northern coast of Somalia, has the highest risk of piracy in the world. About 25,000 ships use the channel south of Yemen, between the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. Piracy has become a serious problem in the Gulf of Aden and the International Community is stepping up efforts to deal with the sudden surge. Undeterred by foreign naval missions, ransom-hunting pirates continued to launch more attacks on vessel and mainly in the Indian Ocean.
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