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Somali pirates release seized oil tanker, crew without payment of ransom

Somali pirates release seized oil tanker, crew without payment of ransomThe release followed a gunfight earlier on Thursday between the pirates and the marine force, and then intensive negotiations between the marine force, clan elders and the pirates.

This is reported by The Guardian.

“There has been a discussion going on after the gunfight of this afternoon … We pulled our forces back and so the pirates went away,” said Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan, the director general of the maritime police force for Somalia’s semi-autonomous northern region of Puntland.

A pirate confirmed the release had been made without a ransom payment. In previous hijackings, many crews remained in captivity for years before a ransom was paid. Eight Iranians are still being held.

But the pirates said they had agreed to forego a ransom after learning that Somali businessmen had hired the Aris 13, which was taking oil from Djibouti to the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Pirates have traditionally been wary of tangling with Somalia’s powerful businessmen.

“After we came to know that the Somali traders hired the oil tanker, we released it without a ransom,” pirate Abdullahi said.

The vessel was hijacked on Monday. Residents living near where it was being held said four civilians were injured by stray bullets during Thursday’s gunbattle. In their heyday in 2011, Somali pirates launched 237 attacks off the coast of Somalia, data from the International Maritime Bureau showed, and held hundreds of hostages.
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