5 pirates who hijacked Saudi tanker drowned
Five of the pirates who hijacked a Saudi supertanker drowned with their share of a $3 million ransom, a relative said Saturday, the day after the bundle of cash apparently was dropped by parachute onto the deck of the ship.
The Associated Press
MOGADISHU, Somalia — Five of the pirates who hijacked a Saudi supertanker drowned with their share of a $3 million ransom, a relative said Saturday, the day after the bundle of cash apparently was dropped by parachute onto the deck of the ship.
The Sirius Star and its 25 crew sailed away safely Friday at the end of a two-month standoff in the Gulf of Aden, where pirates attacked more than 100 ships last year.
More than a dozen ships and about 300 kidnapped crew members remain in the hands of pirates.
The drowned pirates' boat overturned in rough seas, and family members were looking for four missing bodies, said Daud Nure, another pirate who knew the men involved.
Abukar Haji, uncle of one of the dead pirates, blamed naval surveillance for the accident that killed his nephew Saturday.
"The boat the pirates were traveling in capsized because it was running at high speed because the pirates were afraid of an attack from the warships patrolling around," he said.
"There has been human and monetary loss, but what makes us feel sad is that we don't still have the dead bodies of our relatives. Four are still missing and one washed up on the shore."
Pirate Daud Nure said three of the eight passengers had managed to swim to shore after the pirates' boat overturned in rough seas. He was not part of the pirate operation but knew those involved.
"Here in Haradhere, the news is grim; relatives are looking for their dead," he said.
The tanker had left Somali territorial waters and was on its way home Saturday, said Saudi Arabian oil minister Ali Naimi.
A Saudi Oil Ministry official said the ship was headed for Dammam, on the country's Gulf coast, but gave no estimated time of arrival. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.
On the same day the Saudi ship was freed, pirates released a captured Iranian-chartered cargo ship, Iran's state TV reported Saturday.
The ship Delight was carrying 36 tons of wheat when it was attacked in the Gulf of Aden on Nov. 18 and seized by pirates. All 25 crew are in good health and the vessel is sailing toward Iran, the TV report said. It did not say if a ransom was paid.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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