Somali Pirates Free Hostages After almost Five Years
Four Thai fishermen who were held in captivity for almost five years by Somali pirates have been freed, according to Agence France Presse (AFP).
The fishermen were taken hostage in April 2010 in an attack by Somali pirates on Taiwan-flagged fishing vessel FV Prantalay 12.
Omar Sheikh Ali, an official in Somalia’s central Galmudug administration said that the four men were collected from a remote area, the news agency reported.
Unconfirmed reports say that the release took place after payment of a ransom of $150,000.
There were 24 people on board the ship when the hijacking occurred of whom six died and 14 were released in May 2011.
The Prantalay 12 was captured with two other fishing vessels, Prantalay 11 and 14, with a total crew of 77 who had been looking for tuna and working out of Djibouti.
Indian naval forces on INS Cankarso rescued Prantalay 14 at the beginning of 2011 following a 12-hour gun battle, resulting in 15 pirates surrendering and being taken to Kochi for prosecution.
United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime’s Hostage Support Programme (HSP) was in talks with the pirates holding the crew on their release terms.
The seized ship was used by the pirates as a pirate mother ship before it capsized in July 2011.