Ransom paid to free chemtanker.
A RANSOM was dropped by parachute to Somali pirates holding Singapore-flagged chemtanker Pramoni, a statement from the European Union"s Navfor confirmed this morning.
It is not yet clear how much money was paid for the 2008-built, 19,998 dwt vessel, which was seized on January 1 with 24 Chinese, Indian, Nigerian and Vietnamese seafarers on board. All crew members are said to be safe.
Media reports from the region quote senior EU Navfor official Cmdr John Harbour as saying that an EU warship is monitoring the situation, and that the pirates were expected to have released the ship by the time this story appears in print.
The Lloyd"s Marine Intelligence Unit database associates Pramoni with Indonesian operator Berlian Laju Tanker.
In other piracy developments, a Russian Pacific fleet task force is currently en route to the Gulf of Aden after departure from the Far Eastern port of Vladivostok on last Tuesday.
The task force comprises an Udaloy-class missile destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov, a salvage tug and a tanker.
The Russian navy currently maintains a permanent presence off the Horn of Africa, with warships operating on a rotation basis, after joining international anti-piracy efforts off the Somali coast in October 2008.
The latest task force is the fourth group of warships from the Russian Pacific fleet engaged in such duties.
Pacific fleet task forces have so far escorted a total of over 100 commercial vessels from 26 countries along the shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden, thwarting over 20 pirate attacks.