7 Nov 2010

'Record' ransom paid to Somali pirates

8:54 am on 7 November 2010

A record ransom has reportedly been paid to Somali pirates in exchange for a South Korean tanker.

They are believed to have been paid $US9.5m for South Korean oil tanker Samho Dream, seized in April as it carried oil from Iraq to the United States.

In a separate move, nearly $US2.8m was paid for the Singaporean flagged Golden Blessing, a Chinese-owned chemical tanker.

Somali pirates are holding at least 25 other ships.

Andrew Mwangura, co-ordinator of the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme in Mombasa, told Reuters that the ransom for the South Korean ship would be the highest paid out to pirates since they started hijacking ships in recent years. He said the pirates initially demanded $US20 million.