Record payout for release of hijacked supertanker Irene SL

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April 11, 2011

Image via NATO

UPDATE: According to a report from, owners of the pirated Irene SL, NS Lemos, paid a record breaking $13.5m to free the VLCC from pirates.

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)–Somali pirates released the Greek-owned oil tanker “Irene SL” late Thursday after 58 days in captivity, the vessel’s manager said.

All of the ship’s 25-member crew are safe. A spokesman for ENESEL SA, the manager, declined to comment on how the vessel was returned or whether a ransom was paid.

The supertanker was headed to the U.S. Gulf Coast from Mina Al Ahmadi, Kuwait, carrying 270,000 metric tons of crude oil when it was attacked and seized in early February off the coast of Oman.

The vessel owner, Greece-based N.S. Lemos & Co., plans to sail the ship to Durban, South Africa, for inspection and resupply, while also replacing the ship’s officers and crew.

The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, Intertanko, said it was delighted Irene SL has been released by the Somali pirates but the spreading piracy crisis in the Indian Ocean calls for governments to show political will not political indifference.

The systematic use of pirate motherships means that the Somali pirates’ outreach now extends right across the Indian Ocean.

“There is no alternative route any more for the 17 million barrels of oil a day that come out of the Gulf. Now, 40% of the world’s oil supplies have to pass through the Indian Ocean,” said Intertanko in a press release.

-By Jerry A. DiColo, Dow Jones Newswires

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