Center for Peace and Democracy (CPD)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Pirates seize Ukrainian ship off Somali coast

October 21, 2005 (AP) - Pirates seized a Ukrainian cargo ship off the Somali coast for ransom, and Ukrainian authorities have initiated negotiations with the hijackers, a Foreign Ministry official said Oct. 21. Pirates hijacked the vessel, Panagia, on Oct. 28 with 22 crew members on board about 100 miles (160 kilometers) off the Somali coast, and demanded a $700,000 (585,000 euros) ransom.

The ship, owned by a company from Ukraine's southern city of Odessa, was sailing under a Liberian flag and was carrying iron ore from South Africa to Turkey. The ship is currently anchored just over 2 miles (3 kilometers) off Somalia's east coast, ministry spokesman Dmytro Svystkov said.

"We have spoken with the captain of the ship ... all the Ukrainian citizens are alive and well," he said. "The crew can move around the ship, but they are under permanent control by the pirates.
"Ukraine has ordered its diplomats to ask the authorities of France, Great Britain and the United States, as well as NATO officials, to "review all the options for freeing the ship and the crew," Svystkov said.Piracy is rampant near the coast of Somalia, which is torn by renewed clashes between militias fighting over control of the troubled African country of 7 million.

Source: AP

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