Somali pirates demand $15M ransom for Asian Glory.
The Somali pirates who abducted the UK-flagged ship Asian Glory have demanded a $15 million ransom, the Bulgarian news agency (BTA) reported on February 3 2010. The statement, which first surfaced in Ukrainian media, was allegedly attributed to a Ukrainian intelligence source who wished to remain anonymous.
The Ukrainian foreign ministry said that diplomats had contacted the owner of the ship which ferries 2305 Korean-made cars from Singapore bound for Saudi Arabia. The negotiations with the pirates were reportedly "dynamic", while the condition of all men on board the ship was said to be good.
There are eight Bulgarians on board Asian Glory among the 25 crew, which also includes 10 Ukrainians, five Indians and two Romanians.
Allegedly, the 15-million ransom includes the "insurance of the ship and the value of the cargo ? all vehicles included". As far as the other UK flagged ship St James Park, with five Bulgarians on board, which only ferries chemicals, the pirates asked for "only three million dollars".
"Both ships are supplied with fresh water, food, and fuel. The crews are fine and are not deprived of their basic needs," spokesperson of the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry Dragovest Goranov was quoted as saying on February 2.
Asian Glory was seized while ferrying cars off the Somali coast. She was boarded by pirates late on January 1 2010. This was the second seizure within five days of a ship managed by Zodiac.
Earlier, on December 29, Somali pirates hijacked the St James Park, a UK-flagged chemical tanker in the Gulf of Aden with five Bulgarian sailors on board.