Somali pirates release South Korean ship

Somali pirates release South Korean ship
# 06 November 2010 17:23 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. A South Korean tanker which was hijacked by Somali pirates in April this year was released on Saturday along with its 24 crew members, a regional maritime official confirmed, APA reports quoting Xinhua News Agency.

Andrew Mwangura, the East Africa Coordinator of Seafarers Assistance Program (SAP), said the 319,360 deadweight tanker Samho Dream which was seized in the Indian Ocean on April 4 while en route to the United States from Iraq was freed after the owner paid ransom. "The South Korean vessel was released on Saturday. The vessel’s owners paid 9 million U.S. dollars ransom to secure her release. The crew members are safe," Mwangura told Xinhua by telephone from Mombasa.

The Marshal Islands flagged vessel, which was carrying 170 million U.S .dollars worth of crude oil, was hijacked approximately 600 nautical miles off the Somali coast in the early hours of April 4.

Mwangura said Samho Dream, South Korean owned and operated, has a crew of 24 made up of 5 Koreans and 19 Filipino and all are believed to be safe and healthy

The Gulf of Aden which is between Somalia and Yemen is the main sea route between Europe and Asia.

Tankers carrying Middle East oil through the Suez Canal must pass first through the Gulf of Aden. About 4 percent of the world’s daily oil supply is shipped through the gulf.

The attacks are being carried out by increasingly well- coordinated Somali gangs armed with automatic weapons and rocket- propelled grenades, maritime officials said.

The Horn of Africa nation has been without a functioning government since 1991, and remains one of the world’s most violent and lawless countries.