Crime Pays—the Wheels of the Gods
Mogadishu, Somalia — Somali pirates released a Saudi supertanker seized in the world’s biggest ship hijacking for a $3-million ransom Friday, but five drowned when their boat capsized as they were making off with their share.
The capture of the Sirius Star and its $100-million cargo of crude in November drew attention to a surge in piracy off Somalia that has brought global navies rushing to protect one of the world’s most important shipping lanes.
Farah Osman, an associate of the pirates speaking from Harardhere port near where the tanker was held, said the gang wanted more money but finally agreed to accept $3 million.
A regional maritime group confirmed the ship’s release.
“The last batch of gunmen have disembarked from the Sirius Star. She is now steaming out to safe waters,” said Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers Assistance Program, based in the Kenyan port of Mombasa.
Osman said the gang argued over how to split the ransom money, then at least five were drowned in rough waters that engulfed one of the boats that left the Saudi ship.