Talks underway for release of Saudi oil tanker from pirates

November 21st, 2008 - 2:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Nairobi, Nov 21 (Xinhua) Talks are underway for the release of a Saudi-owned oil supertanker hijacked by Somali pirates last weekend, a maritime official said Friday. Andrew Mwangura of East Africa’s Seafarers Assistance Program (SAP), however, said he did not know the status of the talks.

“Negotiations are underway but I don’t know the levels they have reached,” Mwangura told Xinhua over the telephone Friday.

Media reports said the pirates are asking for $25 million in ransom for the Saudi supertanker seized off the East African coast, and have called on its owners to pay up “soon”.

“What we want for this ship is only $25 million because we always charge according to the quality of the ship and the value of the product,” a man who identified himself as Abdi Salan, a member of the hijackers’ gang, reportedly said from Harardhare, in Somalia’s semi-autonomous northern Puntland region close to where the ship is anchored.

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