Somali pirates to release the Belgian vessels

25th June 2009, Comments 0 comments

Somali pirates holding the Belgian dredging vessel Pompeï have told the British press agency Reuters that they plan to release the ship very soon.

The Pompeï was hijacked off the East African coast in mid-April.

Negotiations to release the ship have been under way for more than 20 days," a pirate, who gave his name as Mohamed Ali, told Reuters by satellite phone from the Pompeii.

He added: “At last it has been wrapped up and a ransom of $2.8 million agreed."

Ali concluded that the boat could be released as early as Wednesday, though other pirate sources say it may take a day or two more.

A regional piracy monitoring group, the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme, said a shortage of fuel could delay the release until the end of the week.

Two Belgians on board

The ten-man crew of the Pompeï is made up of two Belgians, four Croatians, one Dutchman and three Filipinos.

Somali pirates have taken 31 boats in 143 attacks in the Gulf of Aden so far this year.

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