German-owned ship seized by pirates freed: firm

13th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

A German-owned cargo ship captured by pirates off Somalia in January has been released, a spokesman for the shipping company that owns her said Wednesday.

The spokesman for the Beluga firm, based in the northern German city of Bremen, was unable to give further details regarding the crew of the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged "Beluga Nomination."

He did not say whether a ransom had been paid but the local Weser Kurier daily said the release came after "months of negotiation between the shipping company and the pirates."

A few days after her capture, the ship was involved in a dramatic stand-off with anti-piracy patrol vessels which opened fire on the Beluga Nomination's engine room, killing one pirate in the ensuing blaze.

In retaliation, the pirates killed one member of the 12-strong crew.

Two other members of the crew then managed to escape aboard a lifeboat while two more are missing, feared dead.

The company has since deployed private security guards aboard some of its ships off the Somali coast and re-routed other vessels.

Pirates based in lawless Somalia have continued to seize ships in the Gulf of Aden and beyond despite the presence of international navies patrolling shipping lanes.

© 2011 AFP

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