‘Busy’ Somali Pirates free Philippine ship and crew of 23 held for 5 months

April 21, 2009

(ChattahBox) — In a bit of good news on the seas, Somali pirates released a Philippine a chemical tanker and its 23 crew Tuesday, held for five months in the Gulf of Aden. The Stolt Strength was seized Nov. 10, 2008. The Philippine’s Department of Foreign Affairs who issued a statement did not specify whether the pirates were paid a ransom for freeing the ship and crew.

Pirates are still holding about 85 Filipino crew from several ships, including three aboard the Belgian-owned Pompei, which was seized in April 2008, the department said. The release came a day after a separate group of bandits freed the Lebanese-owned food aid freighter MV Sea Horse after receiving $100,000 from Somali businessmen.

International Maritime Bureau maritime today, reported that attacks by sea worldwide nearly doubled in the first three months of 2009, mainly due to increased pirate raids on vessels in the Gulf of Aden and the east coast of Somalia. But securing the massive region is difficult. The area off the coasts of Somalia and Kenya, including the Gulf of Aden, is more than 1.1 million square miles, four times the size of the state of Texas.


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