Somali pirate demands $20 million ransom
As a heavily armed U.S. freighter patrolled nearby and planes flew overhead, a Somali pirate spokesman told The Associated Press his group was demanding a $20 million ransom to release a cargo ship loaded with Russian tanks.
The spokesman also warned that the pirates would fight to the death if any country tried military action to regain the ship, and a man who said he was the ship’s captain reported that one crew member had died.
Pirates seized the Ukrainian-operated ship Faina off the coast of Somalia on Thursday as it headed to Kenya carrying 33 Russian-built T-72 tanks and a substantial quantity of ammunition and spare parts. The ordinance was ordered by the Kenyan government.
(…) In a rare gesture of cooperation, the Americans appeared to be keeping an eye on the Faina until the Russian missile frigate Neustrashimy, or Intrepid, reaches the area. The Russian ship was still somewhere in the Atlantic on Sunday, the Russian navy reported.
Pirate spokesman Sugule Ali said he was speaking Sunday from the deck of the Faina via a satellite phone — and verified his location by handing the phone over to the ship’s captain, who also spoke with the AP. It was not possible to further confirm their identities.
“We want ransom, nothing else. We need $20 million for the safe release of the ship and the crew,” Ali said, adding that “if we are attacked, we will defend ourselves until the last one of us dies.”
Well, we know more things than yesterday. We know who had bought those weapons. I wonder what will happen. The pirates know very well that if they are attacked the munitions can explode, so they will be worth nothing.
Looks like the cargo was destined for Sudan and not for Kenya, as was thought at first.