Somali pirates reduce ransom for Sirius Star

Even pirates are feeling the global recession. The Somali pirates, who originally asked for US$25 million to release the Sirius Star, which has US$100 million of oil on board, have now reduced the amount to US$15 million.

The Sirius Star hijacking news video is available here. You can watch it below as well:

Pirates seized the Sirius Star, which is carrying a full load of crude oil worth 100 million dollars, around 830 kilometres south-east of the Kenyan port of Mombasa over a week ago. There were 25 crew members on board when it was hijacked by the Somali pirates. Crew members are from Britain, Poland, Croatia, Saudi Arabia and Philippines. It was hijacked on November 15th. Many vessels have been hijacked before, but
“Negotiations are going on smoothly so far”, Abdi Salan Ahmed, a pirates’ representative, said in a telephone interview today from Harardhere, a northern Somali town controlled by Islamist militias near the ship’s anchorage. “I can’t confirm now whether the ransom has been reduced or not”.

Sirius Star is 62 miles off the coast of central Somalia, according to last reports.

During its glory days: a picture of Sirius Star:
Sirius Star - the ship hijacked by Somali pirates

Sheikh Abdulaahi Osman, a commander of the Islamic Courts Union group in Harardhere, warned the pirates holding the Saudi ship they face armed conflict if they don’t release it. “Saudi is a Muslim country and it is a huge crime to snatch Muslim property and hold it, as they have done”, Osman said. “Those who are holding the ship, should release it without any conditions”.

The hijacked ship Sirius is owned by Vela, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Saudi Aramco oil company. Owners of hijacked ships usually pay ransoms and are reimbursed by insurers. Insurers often see paying a ransom as preferable to paying out for the whole insured value of a vessel – sometimes as much as $100m. The typical ransom amount is around $2 million, according to “insiders”.