Somali pirates release Spanish ship with 36 crew

08:22, November 18, 2009      

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Somali pirates on Tuesday released a Spanish trawler with 36 crew on broad after receiving more than three million U.S. dollars in ransom, a pirate commander said.

“The crew and the ship were released after our demands were met. They paid more than three million U.S. dollars for the freedom of the fishermen and their fishing boat who were caught looting our resources,” Omar Ali, a pirate commander with the gang holding the released Spanish trawler told Xinhua by phone from Harardheere, a pirate stronghold in north central Somalia.

The Spanish fishing ship, the Alakrana, had been seized early last month off Somalia coast by Somali pirates who demanded the payment of a ransom and the release of detained pirates in Spain.

During the holding of the Alakrana, Somali pirates have threatened to harm the hostages if their colleagues currently on trial in Spanish courts were not released, a move that triggered a wave of protests in Spain demanding the Spanish government to help secure the release of the hostages.

Reports in the pirate towns in north central Somalia speak about celebratory mood in Haradheere as pirates and their associates prepare to get their shares of the hefty ransom payout.

Several other ships are currently being held by Somali pirates who are demanding ransom for their release.

Piracy has been rife in the Indian Ocean off Somalia and the Gulf of Aden for the past years when dozens of commercial ships were abducted but most were released after payment of hefty ransoms to the pirates.

Since the start of the restless situation in Somalia in 1991, the coastal areas near the war-torn country and the Gulf of Aden were frequently infested by pirates.

Source: Xinhua
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