Pirates Spring Suez

Somali pirates have freed an Egyptian multipurpose ship and its crew after collecting a $2.1m ransom, sources have said.

The release of Red Sea Navigation’s 17,000-dwt Suez (built 1984) and 22 hostages follows a tense ten-month ordeal off the Horn of Africa.

While the owner has not made an official statement, the ship’s captain, Mohammad Wasi, told Pakistan’s Geo News that the payment was delivered to the pirates by boat, rejecting earlier reports suggesting the ransom would be dropped by parachute.

Wasi said his captors, 40 to 50 men in total, threatened to kill the seafarers on at least four occasions.

He also said the group drank rain water and was forced eat only rice and pasta.

“The pirates would give us whatever was left after they ate,” Wasi recalled.

Pakistani civil rights advocate Ansar Burney, who claims to have led the ransom negotiations with the pirates after raising donations, told the Press Trust of India that the crew would arrive home in a few days after arrangements are made for their repatriation.

Calls to Red Sea Navigation requesting comment were not immediately returned on Monday. It is not clear if they covered a portion of the reported ransom.

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