Samho Shipping, the South Korean shipping company that owns a VLCC which
was seized by Somali pirates two months ago, said Thursday that it is still in
talks with the hijackers, but an early breakthrough is unlikely due to
differences over the ransom amount.
The official said the $20 million demanded by the pirates is too high.
"But we continue negotiations to have the crew return home as early as
possible," company spokesman Joseph Ahn said.
"All of the crew members are safe," he added.
Samho Shipping sent its team to Somalia in April to start negotiations
with the pirates to get the vessel and crew members back.
The 320,000 dwt crude carrier Samho Dream was taken on April 4 by the
pirates from the Indian Ocean while it was steaming more than 1,500 km (940
miles) east of the Somali coast. On board the vessel were 24 crew members --
five South Koreans and 19 Filipinos.
The Singapore-registered tanker was chartered by US refiner Valero to
move 2 million barrels of crude from the Iraqi port of Basra to the Louisiana
Offshore Oil Port on the US Gulf Coast. The value of the cargo is estimated at
$170 million, according to Samho Shipping.
--Charles Lee, email@example.com
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