Aug. 4 (Bloomberg) -- A German-flagged ship and its crew were freed four months after the container vessel was seized by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean.
The Hansa Stavanger is being escorted to the Kenyan port of Mombasa by two vessels of the European Union’s anti-piracy force, Daniel Auwermann, a spokesman for the unit’s operational headquarters in Northwood, England, said today by phone. He declined to say whether a ransom was paid.
Ahmed Hassan, a member of the pirate gang that hijacked the vessel, said in an interview that the brigands released the ship yesterday after receiving $2.7 million from the owners, Hamburg- based Leonhardt-Blumberg.
“There were critical disputes over the amount of ransom recently, but we’ve now received our money,” Hassan said late yesterday by phone from the city of Harardhere, central Somalia.
A spokeswoman for Leonhardt-Blumberg who identified herself only by her surname, Reuter, said the company would not comment beyond a statement welcoming the crew’s release.
The Hansa Stavanger, a 21,000 deadweight-ton freighter, was seized on April 4 about 400 miles (645 kilometers) east of Mombasa, in an area where pirates had not previously been active. It was then taken to Somali waters near Harardhere, the company said.
Thank God for the release of these two ships and for the safety of their crews who will now be able to return to their homes and loved ones. Please continue to pray for the protection and rescue of the remaining ships held by pirates.