Freed German ship arrives in Kenya

August 8, 2009 12:00 am

, MOMBASA, Aug 8 – A German container ship held for four months by Somali pirates arrived in the Kenyan port of Mombasa late Friday after being ransomed, a port official said.

"The German ship with 24 crew members is in Mombasa but has to be cleared to dock at the port, and that must be done tomorrow morning," he told AFP.

Pirates released the Hansa Stavanger and its 24-strong crew on Monday after being paid 2.7 million dollars in ransom, according to Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based Seafarers Assistance Programme.

The 20,000-tonne vessel was seized in April around 400 nautical miles from the Somali coast, between Kenya and the Seychelles.

Some 200 sailors from at least 11 ships are still being held in the region.

Somali pirates attacked more than 130 merchant ships last year, more than twice as many as in 2007, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

Rough seas and international navy patrols have curbed pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean recently, but experts have warned the end of the monsoon season could see a fresh flurry of hijackings over the next few weeks.


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