Pirates set to release German ship after ransom paid

  • DPA, Nairobi
  • |
  • Updated: Aug 03, 2009 22:28 IST

Somali pirates are preparing to release a German ship held off the Somali coast for four months after receiving a multi-million-dollar ransom, a maritime official said on Monday.

The Hansa Stavanger was seized April 4, around 400 nautical miles off the Somali coast, between Kenya and the Seychelles.

"We hope that it will be released any time soon," Andrew Mwangura, head of the Kenya-based East African Seafarers' Association told DPA. "The ransom was probably just under $3 million."

The ship had been due to be released over the weekend after a $2.7-million was agreed but the pirates shifted their demands at the last minute, Mwangura said.

A higher figure was then agreed on Sunday.

The 20,000-tonne ship is owned by Hamburg shipping company Leonhardt & Blumberg and has five German crew members onboard.

Pirates have wreaked havoc in the busy shipping lane off the Somali coast, which links Asia with Europe.

They have hijacked dozens of ships and scooped millions of dollars in ransom payments despite the presence of international warships.


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