Somali pirates holding a German container ship for ransom increased their demand to $4 million from $3 million after the raiders disagreed among themselves on how to divide the money.
Somali pirates holding a German container ship for ransom increased their demand to $4 million from $3 million after the raiders disagreed among themselves on how to divide the money, a member of the gang said. The German-flagged Hansa Stavanger has been held since early April, when it was seized between the Seychelles and Kenya.
?We had previously agreed $3 million with the owners but due to some circumstances, mainly because we are so many and we have had the ship approximately four months, we decided to ask them to add an additional $1 million,? Ahmed Hassan, a pirate whose gang hijacked the ship, said in a phone interview today. ?It was intended to release the ship after the ransom but now it seems that it will take extra time because the owners haven"t yet answered our offer to increase the money to $4 million.?
Should $4 million be paid, it would likely be a record for a vessel seized by Somali pirates. Ransoms have tended to range from $500,000 to $2 million, though $3 million was paid for the Saudi oil tanker Sirius Star last year, the Congressional Research Service said in a February report. Calls to the Hamburg-based owner of the ship, Leonhardt- Blumberg, weren"t answered. The 21,000 deadweight-ton vessel was seized about 400 miles (645 kilometers) from land, in an area where pirates hadn"t previously been active.