Somali Pirates Free MT UBT Ocean and FV Sakoba Vessels
Somali pirates on Wednesday released a Norwegian tanker and a Kenyan flagged fishing vessel that was in their custody for close to four months. East African Seafarers Assistance Programme head Andrew Mwangura said that MT UBT Ocean and FV Sakoba are headed to Dar es Salaam and Mombasa respectively. Sources say that a ransom was paid to the pirates but it’s not yet clear how much the pirates parted with.
The FV Sakoba was seized on February 26 off the Tanzanian Island of Pemba with a crew of 16 from Spain, Poland, Kenya, Namibia and Cape Verde respectively. The fishing vessel is believed to have been used as a “mother ship” from which its captors launched an attack on March 5 to capture the UBT Ocean, a Norwegian-owned Marshall Islands-flagged ship with a crew of 21 from Myanmar.
Kenyan police in March dispersed a demonstration by the families of the fishing vessel’s crew members who were complaining that the government was not keeping them informed of the fate of their loved ones nor working for their release.
Ransom hunting Somali pirates have pitched camp at the Gulf of Aden and hijack commercial fleets and ships and demand a handsome amount of money before it is released. The Gulf of Aden has witnessed a large number of ships hijacked by Somali pirates and millions of dollars exchange hands before their release.
News Report By Abdulaziz Billow
Abdulaziz Billow is AfrobeatRadio’s correspondent for East Africa.