Somali pirates free Indonesian sailors

The pirates released the bulk carrier and 20 sailors after a ransom was paid.

Jakarta: Indonesian sailors held hostage by pirates off Somalia have been released and are "safe and well", the ship owner said on Sunday.

In a nationally-televised news conference, PT Samudera Indonesia vice-president David Batubara said the pirates had released the bulk carrier Sinar Kudus and its 20 sailors after a ransom was paid.

"All 20 sailors on Sinar Kudus have been freed by the Somali pirates 46 days after they were taken hostage in the waters around Somalia," he said.

"The ship is leaving Somali waters and all pirates are no longer on the ship," he added.

Batubara said he was unable to disclose the ransom amount as "that`s sensitive information that could affect the safety of crew in other ships still held hostage".

"I can only say that the USD 4.5 million ransom reported in the media is absolutely untrue," he added.

An unusually large group of 30 to 50 Somali pirates in March seized the Indonesian flagged and owned ship about 320 nautical miles northeast of the Yemeni island of Socotra and used it in a failed bid to hijack a second ship.

The Sinar Kudus was on its way to the Netherlands from the Indonesian island of Sulawesi when it was hijacked.

Despite the increased international military presence off Somalia`s coastline -- the longest on the African continent -- pirates have continued to rake in large ransoms.

Bureau Report

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