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Two hijacked vessels to be freed

Two hijacked vessels to be freed
Negotiations with Somali pirates to free the two hijacked ships, both with Bulgarian sailors aboard - UK-flagged cargo ship ?The Asian Glory? and the chemical tanker "St James Park," have already started.

Negotiations with Somali pirates to free the two hijacked ships, both with Bulgarian sailors aboard - UK-flagged cargo ship ?The Asian Glory? and the chemical tanker "St James Park," have already started.

Negotiations with Somali pirates to free the two hijacked ships, both with Bulgarian sailors aboard - UK-flagged cargo ship ?The Asian Glory? and the chemical tanker "St James Park," have already started. The information was revealed by Captain Prodan Prodanov, the Bulgarian-based manager of the UK Zodiac company, which operates the two ships.

Prodanov refused to specify how long the talks for the sailors' release may continue.

He assured that all thirteen Bulgarians, aboard the UK-flagged cargo ship ?The Asian Glory? and the chemical tanker "St James Park," are in good health, have enough food and water.

"The Asian Glory," which was transporting cars from Singapore to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, was seized late last Friday about 600 miles east of the Somali coast before it could join a convoy. The ship"s payload can be up to 4,000 cars.

Another British-flagged ship with five Bulgarians onboard, the chemical tanker "St James Park," was seized on last Monday in the Gulf of Aden. "St James Park" has a crew of 26, consisting of Bulgarians, Filipinos, Georgians, Indians, Poles, Romanians, Russians, Turks and Ukrainians.

London-based Zodiac Maritime Agencies manage both ships but the company says there is no other connection between the hijackings which it described as a case of lightning striking the same place twice.

Although the location of the seized vessels is well known, they can all be seen anchored off the Somali coast, experts say it would be impossible to liberate the hostages without severe loss of life.

"If the pirates are already on board, then there is not much that we can do - if you value the lives of the hostages," Commander Pieter Bindt, head of the EU's anti-piracy taskforce, NavFor, said.

In the past, heavy ransoms amounting to millions have been paid for hijacked ships.

www.TurkishMaritime.com.tr

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