M/V Orna Released By Pirates, 6 Crew Still Held

M/V Orna. Image via EUNAVFOR

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.