Somali pirates release Togo-flagged ship, attack two
By Abdi Guled and Abdi Sheikh
MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somali pirates have released a Togo-flagged cargo ship seized last week, a U.N. aid agency said on Monday, and failed in attacks on two merchant vessels.
Pirates have made millions of dollars in ransoms hijacking commercial vessels in the busy shipping lanes of the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, despite patrols by foreign navies off the Somali coast.
The violence has disrupted aid supplies, driven up insurance costs and forced some firms to route cargo round South Africa.
"We hear from the operator that it was released," said U.N. World Food Programme spokesman Peter Smerdon.
The nearly 5,000-tonne MV Sea Horse was on its way to pick up food for the aid group when it was hijacked.
A pirate source said a $100,000 ransom was paid.
"Somali traders were involved in the release of this ship. They mediated and paid some money. I think it was not more than $100,000," the source, Hassan, told Reuters by telephone.
The Kenya-based East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme, which monitors piracy, said the ship was freed on Friday but had no details about the ransom. Continued...