The Saudi oil tanker seized by Somali pirates will be freed soon without a ransom, says the Somali president Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed.
Supertanker to be freed: Somali president
The Somali president Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed said in an interview published today that a Saudi oil tanker seized by Somali pirates will be freed soon without a ransom. "It is not true that the hijackers have demanded a ransom of millions of dollars to release it," he told the Saudi newspaper Okaz. "We are confident that efforts made by tribal leaders and government officials will result soon in releasing the ship without any ransom," he added, as the vessel remained anchored off the coast of Somalia.
Pirates who seized the Sirius Star on Nov 15 had given the owners of the giant oil carrier up until yesterday to pay a ransom of US$25 million. The capture of the supertanker, carrying two million barrels of oil, sent shock waves through the shipping world and prompted some companies to re-route via the Cape of Good Hope. Hundreds of sailors captured in numerous piracy attacks are currently being held hostage on the Somali coast, with the largest number coming from Asian countries like the Philippines.
Somalia has been plagued by relentless fighting involving a myriad of clans, Islamist groups, as well as Ethiopian troops and Somali government forces. *AFP