Iran Denies Seizing Korean Ship and Holding Crew Hostage
By Sangmi Cha and Josh Smith SEOUL, Jan 5 (Reuters) – Iran denied on Tuesday it was using a South Korean ship and its crew as hostages, a day after...
Nearly two years after being hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean, the M/V Orna has been released. However, only 13 of its 19 crew members have been released with the vessel.
The M/V ORNA is a Panama-flagged, UAE owned bulk cargo vessel with a dead weight of 27,915 tonnes. It was hijacked by a group of pirates on December 20, 2010, while underway in the Indian Ocean approximately 400 nautical miles north-east of the Seychelles.
“We had negotiated for the release of 18 Syrians, one Sri Lankan and the vessel,” said a spokesman for Sirago Ship Management, which handles the operations of the vessel for the owner, Kassab Intershipping. “But three days ago we received a call from one pirate group. He said, ‘we don’t agree with the others and we have fought so don’t bring your tug to take the ship’ .”
The spokesman added: “We received a call from another group who said, ‘yes we are fighting but we are ready to give you your ship and these 13 sailors’.”
Sometimes you have to take a decision to take whatever you have, so I took the 13 crew and the ship. This is a problem between the pirates and the investors,” the spokesman said.
The vessel was reportedly released Friday after an undisclosed ransom was paid.
This past September, the M/V Orna made headlines when a crew member was killed by a pirate as a tactic to speed up ransom payments.
The release of the M/V Orna follows the release of the MT Free Goddess earlier this month after fetching a ransom payment of more than $5 million.
Somali pirates are still holding five vessels for ransom, according to data from the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence.
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