Pirates pick up ransom, free Greek ship
Nairobi, February 28, 2010
Somali pirates have released a Panama-registered cargo ship they seized two months ago, after a ransom was air-dropped on to the vessel, maritime officials said on Sunday.
The bulk carrier Navios Apollon was seized about 800 miles off the Somali coast north of the Seychelles, while sailing from the US to India with a cargo of fertiliser.
"The last gunman disembarked from the ship last night. She is steaming out to safe waters," Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based East Africa Seafarers' Assistance Programme told Reuters by phone.
An unspecified sum of money was air-dropped on to the ship as a ransom, maritime officials and members of the gang said.
All 19 members of the crew, one Greek and 18 Filipinos, were safe, Mwangura added. The vessel is managed by a Greek firm, Navios Ship Management.
Piracy attacks rose by almost 40 per cent worldwide last year, with gunmen from the failed Horn of Africa state of Somalia accounting for more than half the 406 reported incidents, according to the International Maritime Bureau. – Reuters