Somali pirates bag record 3mn dollar bounty as ransom to free Saudi ship

January 10th, 2009 - 5:44 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Jan 10 (ANI): Somali pirates received three million dollars for freeing the Saudi oil tanker, MV Sirius Star, after keeping the ship in their captivity for nearly two months.

After 56 days in captivity, pirates freed the worlds biggest ship on Saturday. The 1,090-foot-long vessel, captured in November, was filled with 2 million barrels of crude oil, worth 100 million dollars, becoming the largest prize yet seized by the Somali pirates.

The pirates are now arguing about the division of the money, Farah Osman, a member of the pirate gang, said after the loot was delivered to the captured MV Sirius Star in an aerial operation captured on film by the US Navy.

But the booty did come at a cost. Five of the pirates drowned when their boats capsized as they were making off with their shares, The New York Post reported.

A small plane delivered the payout, dropping a parachute holding a canister packed with cash to pirates waiting on the deck of the ship.

The pirates had originally asked for 25 million dollars in ransom money to release the ship, its oil cargo and 25-member crew.

The quarreling pirates plan sank, however, after their small getaway boats capsized in a vicious storm as they were trying to return to shore.

Five of the first eight pirates who took their share of the ransom from the Saudi ship died after their boat capsized. Two of them swam and survived. One is still missing. The weather was so terrible that it blew the boat over, and then sank it. The waves were disastrous, said Osman.

The crew aboard the ship included both British and Polish nationals. The pirates - who have a reputation for treating prisoners well - said crewmembers were unharmed. (ANI)

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