Ransoms paid to free hijacked cargoships
TWO general cargoships held by Somali pirates were freed over a week ago, in a development only made public now for security reasons. Reports from east Africa indicate that ransoms of undisclosed amounts were paid for both Rozen - held captive for 40 days - and Nimatullah. The ships were released on April 2, following negotiations between representatives of the owners and tribal elders in the Puntland region. All crew members on both vessels are unharmed. Nimatullah reached the main regional hub of Mombasa, Kenya, last weekend to offload its cargo before returning to its home port of Dubai. Rozen was reportedly on route to the same destination. Meanwhile, concerns are mounting that ransoms paid by shipowners are exacerbating tensions in the impoverished country, with warlord militias using shipjackings to obtain cash to buy weapons.
The United Nations World Food Programme also expressed fears that the repeated seizures will make commercial vessels reluctant to carry desperately needed consignments of food aid to Somalia.
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