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7 Oct, 2008 09:03

Arms ship saga: proof of life and ransom cuts

Arms ship saga: proof of life and ransom cuts

The Somalian pirates who seized a Ukrainian ship carrying military cargo have agreed to cut down their ransom demands. They also showed the crew to a U.S. Navy ship blocking the hijacked ‘Faina’ vessel to prove they are still alive.

A man who claimed to be the pirates’ spokesman told the AP news agency that the ransom for the crew and the ship was now $8 million, down from the $20 million they demanded earlier. He said the talks with the ship-owner continued “successfully”.

The ransom sum was initially set at $35 million due to its cargo. Faina was transporting 33 T-72 tanks, rocket launchers, machine guns and other arms. Some reports suggested the ship was carrying a 125 mm calibre shell with a depleted uranium core.

Meanwhile, the captured crew members were taken to the deck to be photographed by the U.S. Navy. The captain of Faina died from a stroke shortly after the pirates seized the vessel in late September.

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