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15 Jul, 2008 06:34

Ship released by pirates awaits towing

A German cargo vessel with a Russian captain has been taken in tow and is on its way to an Oman seaport. The ship ran aground after a reported engine failure last Friday, just 72 hours after being freed by their Somali captors.

Ardo Kalle, Senior Assistant on the Lehmann Timber cargo ship, told RT that the sailors are suffering after what they've been through.

“A tug boat from Oman is expected to reach us tomorrow, provided the weather doesn’t get worse,” he said. “The crew feels exhausted. Food and drinking water were delivered yesterday by the military helicopter. We’ve already used up all the water”.

Kalle added that he hopes that when they arrive in Oman the ship will be fixed and the crew will be able to go home.

The German freighter with a crew of 15 was set free last Tuesday when the owner paid a $US 750,000 ransom. The sailors spent more than 40 days in captivity.

They then got into trouble again when engine failure left the ship drifting at sea amid difficult conditions.

“We ran aground when a severe storm broke out,” said Valentin Bortashov, Captain of Lehmann Timber.

The storm in the area of the ship reached eight on the Beaufort scale.

The crew are expected to receive additional vital supplies of food and water while they await their rescue.