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Somali pirates free Turkish ship

Somali pirates free Turkish ship
Somali pirates freed a Turkish ship on Monday after a pirate source said the hijackers received a $1.5 million ransom.

Somali pirates free Turkish ship after ransom

Somali pirates freed a Turkish ship on Monday after a pirate source said the hijackers received a $1.5 million ransom.

A regional maritime official confirmed the bulk carrier Horizon-1, which was seized on July 8 with 23 Turkish crew members on board, had been released.

"We accepted $1.5 million to release the Turkish ship," one of the pirates, who gave his name as Abshir, told Reuters by telephone from the gangs' stronghold of Eyl.

"We delayed leaving because of accounting: we were sharing out the money. We disembarked from the ship this afternoon."

Residents in Eyl said associates of the pirates held a big party to celebrate the ransom payment.

"There is too much noise. The pirates' friends in Eyl are celebrating. Some have gone to welcome the pirates who took the ransom," local man Abdiqadir Mohamed told Reuters by phone.

Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme confirmed the ship, which was believed to be carrying sulphate when it was hijacked, had been released.

There was no immediate word on the condition of the crew.

Spanish media said at the time that the vessel had been en route from Jordan to Saudi Arabia when it was hijacked. Pirate raids have continued in the Indian Ocean and strategic Gulf of Aden despite foreign naval patrols off the lawless Horn of Africa state. Monsoon rains curbed attacks in recent months, but now they have started to pick up again.

Heavily-armed gangs from Somalia -- some made up of former fishermen angered by foreign boats fishing in Somali waters -- have made tens of millions of dollars in ransoms by seizing boats in shipping lanes linking Europe to Asia.

On Friday, Spanish officials and a pirate spokesman said pirates had hijacked a Spanish tuna fishing boat.

www.turkishmaritime.com.tr

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