Somali Pirates Free Spanish Boat With 36 Crew
By SOF Editor on Tue, 11/17/2009 - 11:16am
Somali pirates have freed a Spanish fishing boat with 36 crew members after holding them for more than six weeks.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced the ship's release at a news conference Tuesday.
He said the MV Alakrana is sailing toward safe waters and that all of its crew members are "safe and sound."
Earlier Tuesday, pirates holding the ship told reporters they had received a multimillion dollar ransom for its release.
Asked whether a ransom was paid, Mr. Zapatero said "the government did what it had to do."
Previously, the pirates said the vessel would not be freed until Spain released two suspected Somali pirates it has in custody. The two were indicted on charges of armed robbery and kidnapping on Monday.
Meanwhile, Somali pirates have seized another ship, this one a chemical tanker with 28 crew members. The European Union's anti-piracy force says all of the crew members are North Korean.
Pirates hijacked the MV Theresa on Monday off the east coast of Africa, about 330 kilometers northwest of the Seychelles islands.
The EU says pirates also attacked a Ukrainian cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden Monday but broke off that attack when security forces on the vessel returned fire. It says there were no casualties aboard the ship, the MV Lady Juliet.
Somali pirates are now believed to be holding 13 ships with more than 225 crew members in all.