Somali pirates free Bangladeshi ship

March 14, 2011
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, CHITTAGONG, Mar 14 – A Bangladeshi ship hijacked by Somali pirates in December last year with 26 people aboard was freed on Monday after its owners paid a $4 million ransom, company executives said.

The M.V. Jahan Moni, which has 25 Bangladeshi crew and the wife of the chief engineer on board, was captured in early December about 550 kilometres (340 miles) off the southwest coast of India, while on its way to Greece.

Meherul Karim, the general manager of Brave Royal Shipping company, which owns the ship, said the vessel was freed early Monday morning.

"We are relieved now. The vessel and all 26 Bangladeshis aboard the ship are safe. The ship has just left the Somali coast and headed to Oman," he told AFP.

An executive of the company speaking on condition of anonymity said the firm had paid $4 million as ransom to the Somali pirates to secure the release of the crew and ship, which was carrying nickel.

Experts have said merchant shipping is increasingly at risk off southwest India as pirates seek to avoid international naval patrols in the treacherous waters off the Horn of Africa.

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