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Somalia: Vehicle-Carrier Released Against Ransom

UK-Flagged Vehicle-Carrier MV ASIAN GLORY Released Against Ransom In Case Of Somali Piracy

Six hours after a ransom drop on 11 June 2010 to the pirate group holding the car-carrier MV ASIAN GLORY at Kulub in the vicinity of Garacad on the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, the vessel was released and is at present sailing free. The ship's crew of 25 seamen with 10 Ukranians, 8 Bulgarians, 5 Indians and 2 Romanians on board are reportedly safe and well, given the circumstances after the five and a half month ordeal.

The UK flagged and UK/Israeli-owned MV ASIAN GLORY, with a deadweight of 13.363 metric tonnes, was sea-jacked late in the afternoon on first January 2010 approximately 900 nautical miles north of the Seychelles and 620 nm east of the Somali coast in the Indian Ocean.

After having left the South Korean port of Ulsan en route from Singapore to the Gulf of Aden and Saudi Arabia, the ship was transiting North West towards the International Recommended Transiting Corridor when she was hijacked.

The company DAYER MARITIME INC fronts as registered owners of the ship and for the management company ZODIAC MARITIME AGENCIES LTD while the real owners of the vessel are the so-called Ofer Brothers - the Israeli brothers Sammy and Yehuda (Yuli) Ofer.

The vessel was first held near Hobyo at the Central Somali coast. From there it was commandeered twice out to sea to aid pirate mother-ships. The ASIAN GLORY in both cases was - after rescuing these pirates - taken back to the Somali coast, in the first instance to Garacad, in the second to Danaane where the floating pirate base was then held 4.8nm off Hobyo again at the Central Indian Ocean coast of Somalia.

Though Iranian media had reported her release already in March, stating also that the vessel had transported weapons destined for Saudi Arabia, negotiations to release the vessel had not reached any conclusion, when the vessel was commandeered again to a location a little farther off the coast near Garacad. Reports by first Iranian and then the Bulgarian media that the vessel had been released for a ransom of US5m were, however, clearly false and the vessel was still held while negotiations were not forthcoming for a long time.

Then and for some time the Bulgarian master was missing, but he apparently just had been hiding himself inside the huge ship, which carried Korean-made saloon cars.

The vessel left Garacad again on 04. April being used as a piracy launch. Ship manager Zodiak confirmed the Asian Glory sailed to the east (about 580 miles) on that weekend and back to off Garacad, but did not reveal that the vessel was used in a full-fledged attack against boxship MSC ANAFI, which luckily managed to escape.

With the advancement of Al-Shabaab groups towards Hobyo the Asian Glory then moved from the Garacad coast to a location near Kulub from where it only now went back closer to Garacad to be released after a substantial ransom was delivered.


© Scoop Media

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