No Ransom Asked Yet for Hijacked Bulgarian SailorsCrime | April 7, 2009, Tuesday // 10:48| views
Somali pirates are currently holding at least 15 vessels with some 250 crew members. Photo by BGNES
The Somali pirates, who kidnapped a British-owned cargo ship with Bulgarian sailors aboard, have not yet asked for a ransom, officials said.
"Malaspina Castle, which flies a Panamanian flag, is sailing towards the northern coasts of Somalia and is being closely followed, including by a satellite," Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry spokesman Dragovest Goranov told the Bulgarian National TV channel.
The 24 sailors, including 16 Bulgarians, taken hostage Monday by Somali pirates are reported to be safe and well according to the UK newspaper The Times. The ship was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden.
Late on Monday President Georgi Parvanov, who is in Istanbul for the Alliance of Civilizations forum, approached US President Barack Obama and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero with a request for cooperation in getting the sailors released.
Bulgaria will coordinate its actions with the Foreign Ministries of Russia and Ukraine, who also have sailors aboard the hijacked ship.
The names of the Bulgarian nationals have not been disclosed yet.
Malaspina Castle was one of five ships seized by hijackers off Somalia's coast in 48 hours.
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