Somali pirates free hijacked Yemeni ship without ransom

December 3rd, 2008 - 4:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Sanaa (Yemen), Dec 3 (DPA) Somali pirates Wednesday freed a Yemeni cargo ship after negotiations with Somali tribal leaders, Yemen’s envoy to Somalia Ahmed Hamid Omar said.”All the 10 pirates have left the ship, and we expect it to leave the Eyl port today (Wednesday),” Omar told DPA by telephone from Eyl port in the semi-autonomous Puntland region in northern Somalia.

Eyl is the stronghold of the Somali pirates.

“We are now finishing final procedures for the ship to head to Yemen,” the Yemeni diplomat said.

The ship’s eight crew members - three Yemenis, three Somalis and two Tanzanians - were released unharmed, he said.

Omar said no ransom was paid to the pirates.

The pirates have demanded $2 million in ransom for the release of the ship, but the owner, who is a Yemeni national of Somali origin, refused to pay.

The ship, Erina, was attacked as it sailed from the south-eastern Yemeni port city of Mukalla to the Indian Ocean island of Socotra Nov 19.

The vessel is carrying 570 tonnes of steel and construction equipment belonging to the Juraiba and Bin-Makhzoum Construction company in Mukalla.

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