Somali pirates release UK-flagged chemical tanker

Somali pirates have released a British-flagged chemical tanker, hijacked last year, after a ransom was paid, the European Union naval force EUNAVFOR said.

“On the morning of May 13 a ransom drop was made to the pirate group holding the St. James Park at anchorage at Garacaad,” EUNAVFOR said in a statement late on Thursday.

It did not give the size of the ransom.

The 13,924 dwt tanker was en route to Thailand from Spain when it was seized by pirates on December 28. It has a crew of 26 — three Filipinos, three Russians, a Georgian, two Romanians, five Bulgarians, two Ukrainans, a Pole, six Indians and three Turks.

“She is now safely under way and EU NAVFOR is continuing to monitor the situation,” EUNAVFOR said.

Somali pirates have made tens of millions of dollars in ransoms off the coast of Somalia, and this has pushed up insurance premiums for shipping.

Some vessels have opted to take longer, more costly routes to avoid areas where pirates operate. But the pirates have also extended their area of operations, seizing ships hundreds of miles from the Somali coast.



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