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4 Jun, 2008 00:56

Pirates ransom too high for hijacked ship owners

Somali pirates holding a freighter ship, Amiya Scan, with a crew of four Russian and five Fillipinos, are demanding a ransom of $US 1.1 million. The vessel was seized last Wednesday on its way from Kenya to Romania. The Dutch owners are reportedly ready t

All the crew members are reported to be in good condition at least as good as it’s possible under the circumstances. According to the ship-owners, the Russian captain is suffering from flu, but his life is not threatened.

While ransom talks are going on, the hijackers have threatened to kill the sailors if there's a forced attempt to release them.

According to the UN it’s the 26th capture of a ship in Somali waters this year alone and it's triggered an international response.

The UN Security Council has unanimously authorised foreign warships to enter Somali waters and take-on the pirates.

“We understand that this unique situation of Somalia requires an exceptional measure by the international community to deal with the problem of piracy and armed robbery,” Hasan Kleib, Deputy Permanent Representative of Indonesia for Security Council Affairs, said.
The UN response followed a request from Somali officials who asked for military help. The country says that one of the main obstacles to fighting piracy is that ship-owners are often willing to pay the ransom.

Russia says it would prefer to find a peaceful solution but its navy is ready to intervene.
“The Russian navy is following the situation with the ship hijacked by pirates. We are ready to fulfill any task, but the use of force is an extreme measure and whatever is done, the security of the people is the top priority. There is still hope that negotiations will be successful,” Igor Dygalo , Russian Navy spokesman, said. 
It’s the second time this year Russian sailors have been kidnapped in Somali waters, in February pirates captured a tugboat with a crew of six on its way from Saint-Petersburg to Russia’s Far East.

Nearly six weeks later the vessel and the sailors were released for a reported ransom of $US 700,000.