We were happy to hear over the weekend that the Italian cargo ship MV Rosalia D’Amato had been released by Somali pirates with a full and safe crew. At the same time we were stunned by the low $600,000 ransom reportedly to have been paid. Now today, a Somalia Report exclusive reveals that the actual ransom is more likely in the area of $6 million, a figure the pirates susposedly wanted to be kept secret. Could this be the beginning of a new pirate tactic to keep things quiet?
By JD, Somalia Report
Somalia Report has heard from sources who say a ransom of $6 million was paid for the release of the Italian-flagged MV Rosalia D’Amato, contradicting the initial sum mentioned of $600,000.
Although Italian officials have not mentioned the sum of the ransom for the vessel, which was released Friday, Mohamed Ahmed, a pirate in the Bari region who first confirmed the releasing of the vessel, told Somalia Report on Monday the ransom was healthy.
“My friends first told us that the ransom paid was $600,000 … today they told me that amount of ransom paid was $6 million, and both owners and negotiators have requested this to be secret,” he said.
Another pirate who was on the vessel confirmed it was $6 million, while Abdikarim Kayton, chairman of the Jariban District which governs the Garacad Area, told Somalia Report on Monday that the figures was indeed $6 million, and that pirates had tried to hide this figure as a ”new tactic”.
Quite why the pirates would play down the size of the ransom, when their normal tactic is to do the opposite in an effort to inflate prices, is unclear.
The group of pirates which held this vessel were led by Canbe, a well-known pirate commander from the Puntland region from the Dishiishe clan (Daarood). The initial demand of the pirates was for more than $7 million.
MV Rosalia D’Amato and her crew of 21, including 6 Italian and 15 Filipinos, were held captive for seven months in the Garacad area of Mudug Region. The pirates hijacked this vessel on April 21, as it was on its way to Iran from Brazil.
© Somalia Report 2011. All rights reserved.