Somali Pirates Said to Have Freed Hijacked British Ship

Diplomacy | May 14, 2010, Friday // 08:46|  views

Somali pirates are said to freed the UK-flagged Saint James Park tanker upon receiving the ransom demanded. Photo by EPA/ BGNES

The Somali pirates are reported to have freed the UK flagged 'Saint James Park' ship after they had been paid the ransom demanded, informs the Russian news site

According to reports by the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS, the British tanker that carried 5 Bulgarians, had been released after the pirates had received the required sum of money (it remains unclear how much the amount was).

The 'Saint James Park' sailors – who have been held hostage since December, 2009 – when the ship was hijacked by the pirates en route to Thailand , are said to be in good health.

The press office of the EU Naval forces in the Atalanta region is said to have confirmed the reports and announced that an overall of 26 people sailed on board the British tanker from Russia, Ukraine, The Republic of Georgia, India, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, the Philippines and Turkey.

Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov, however, has not yet confirmed the information.

In an interview for the morning show of the Bulgarian national channel bTV, the Bulgarian Interior Minister explained that he had talked to Mladenov on the phone late Thursday but no mention was made of the allegedly freed ship.

On Tuesday, speaking to, Mikhail Voitenko, ex Editor-in-Chief of the Russian publication “Sovfrakht Maritime Bulletin”, said that the St James Park is likely to be released soon but that he holds little hope of the same happening to the the other hijacked ship, Asian Glory, as “for an unexplained reason the pirates seem to really like the ship.”

The Bulgarian-flagged chemical tanker MV Panega was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden Tuesday night despite the fact that it was a part of a EU Navfor Somalia convoy.

So far the negotiation team of the ship's official operator, Navigation Maritime Bulgare, had been unabale to get in contact with hijackers and discusss their demands.

With the hijacking of the MV Panega, a total of 28 Bulgarian sailors are in held hostage by Somali pirates.

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Tags: somali pirates, hijack, Saint James Park, MV Panega, Asian Glory


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