Sunday, November 30, 2008

Piracy update

The owners of a Ukrainian cargo ship captured two months ago by Somali pirates have apparently struck a deal for its release after agreeing to pay the pirates a $20 million ransom.

The capture of the MV Faina focused the world's attention on the piracy problem off Somalia because of the ship’s cargo - nearly three-dozen Soviet-era tanks. There was fear that the tanks could fall into the hands of terror groups or militias that are fighting for control of southern Somalia.

But the tanks apparently never left the ship and will be freed along with the boat and the crew once the ransom is delivered. The pirates reduced their demand for the Faina from $35 million. Since grabbing the Faina they have been quite busy, capturing dozens of other ships, including the 1,000-foot long Saudi tanker Sirius Star, with a cargo of oil worth approximately $100 million. The owners of the Sirius Star are still negotiating for its release.
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