Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pirates release tanker- keep four seafarers hostage


Somali pirates have released a hijacked palm oil tanker and 21 crew members.

However, they kept four South Koreans as hostages, the ship’s Singapore-based operator said Thursday, according to Associated Press.

According to agency reports, the pirates promised to release all 25 crew members by Wednesday but instead took the four South Koreans ashore and they are now believed to be in Somalia, Glory Ship Management said.

“We are expending all efforts to secure the release of the four South Koreans still held as hostage,” Glory reportedly said.

Pirates seized the Singapore-registered 29,870 dwt ‘Gemini’ with her cargo 28,000 tonnes plus of crude palm oil off the coast of Kenya on 16th April, while she was en route from Indonesia.

Glory said that the released crew members — 13 Indonesians, five Chinese and three people from Myanmar — were in good health.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said it was co-operating closely with Glory to seek the four crew members’ release. However, it reiterated South Korea’s position not to negotiate with pirates.

In January, the South Korean military killed eight Somali pirates and captured five others in a raid on a hijacked South Korean-operated cargo ship in the Arabian Sea.

The five captured pirates were taken to South Korea and received long prison sentences.

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