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Saturday May 25, 2024

Somali pirates free ship after Bangladeshi owners pay ransom

The vessel’s capture came after the first successful case of Somali piracy since 2017 was recorded in December

By Agencies
April 15, 2024
The picture shows the ship with an armed man sitting on the beach. — AFP/File
The picture shows the ship with an armed man sitting on the beach. — AFP/File

CHITTAGONG: Somali pirates freed a Bangladesh-flagged cargo vessel and its 23 crew early on Sunday after the shipowners paid a ransom, the company said.

The MV Abdullah was carrying more than 55,000 tonnes of coal from Maputo to the United Arab Emirates when it was seized by dozens of pirates around 550 nautical miles off the Somali coast a month ago.

The seizure came amid a surge in Somali pirate activity, with international naval forces diverted from the Gulf of Aden into the Red Sea to guard against attacks on shipping by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The MV Abdullah’s owners, KSRM Group, negotiated with the bulk carrier’s captors and the vessel sailed for Dubai early Sunday Bangladeshi time, a spokesman said.

“We struck a deal with the pirates,” said Mizanul Islam of SR Shipping, the group’s maritime arm.

“We cannot say more about the money,” he said, adding: “All the crew are safe and secure.”

The vessel’s capture came after the first successful case of Somali piracy since 2017 was recorded in December.

A series of incidents since then has fuelled concerns about a resurgence of Indian Ocean raids by opportunistic pirates exploiting a security gap after the redeployment of international forces.

Naval forces – including from India, Sri Lanka and the Seychelles – have since freed fishing boats seized by gunmen and thwarted other attempted attacks.

Last month, Indian commandos boarded and recaptured the vessel seized in December, the Maltese-flagged MV Ruen, around 260 nautical miles (480 kilometres) off the Somali coast.

All 17 hostages were rescued and 35 alleged pirates were brought to Mumbai to face prosecution.