Somali Pirates Release German Chemical Tanker

December 28, 2010 Updated: December 28, 2010

Somali pirates released a hijacked German-owned chemical tanker and its crew of 22 on Tuesday. But the release came at a price—$5.5 million was paid in ransom, Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers Assistance program told the BBC.

The 13,000-ton MV Marida Marguerite was hijacked on the morning of May 8, 120 nautical miles south of Salalah, Oman.

According to EUNAVFOR (European Union Naval Force) Somalia’s press release, there remain 587 other people from 25 different vessels being held by pirates off the coast of Somalia.

Ecoterra International, which monitors the pirates’ actions, gives a different figure for the hostage situation: 41 foreign vessels and at least 722 hostages are being held by the pirates, the group said in a Monday release, published by SomaliWeyn media center.

This is an increase since 2009, Ecoterra says, despite international patrols and escort vessels in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

The captured vessels range from a South African yacht and Thai fishing vessels to a multi-thousand-ton Greek chemical tanker.