Foreign Ministry Confirms Family Set Free
The Danish yachting family held hostage since February have been released, the Danish Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, one day after we reported they had been removed from the Greek-owned, Panama-flagged vessel and that a ransom was said to have been paid.
The seven hostages are “well” given the circumstances, the foreign ministry said, and are expected back in Demark shortly. A at the Danish Embassy in the Kenyan capital Nairobi told Somalia Report they were already travelling back to their home country.
On Tuesday, a pirate named Mohamed Ahmed, told Somalia Report that the seven Danes were put on a small boat at 8am, and that it was his understanding that a $3 million dollar ransom had been paid for them. He said he had also been told they were to be delivered to a warship – possibly Danish – that was in the vicinity of Rasu Bina village, where the MV Dover is anchored.
However, there was initially no independent confirmation of the ransom, and NATO and EU NAVFOR both told Somalia Report they had not heard of any such payment. NATO said that there was no Danish warship under assignment to the anti-piracy mission following the end of the Esbern Snare’s deployment, and the Danish navy also said it was unaware of any release.
The release of the Danes was not in line with with what many s said was the expected deal, which was that the Danes would be released at the same time as the MV Dover, upon which the hostages have been held for a large chunk of their captivity.
$3.5 million dollars was delivered several weeks ago, and another $3 million was to be delivered to complete the deal, several s told Somalia Report. The release was due to have been completed before the end of Ramadan. It is not clear if the money Ahmed referred to was freshly delivered cash.
The Danish family consisting of Jan Quist Johansen, his wife, their three children, and two other adults were taken hostage by armed pirates on February 24, 2011 while on a world tour aboard a Danish-flagged sailing yacht SY ING.
The 43-foot sailboat was attacked approximately 600 miles east of Somalia in the Indian Ocean. They had been planning to enter the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal from the Red Sea.
During their days in captivity, some of the hostages were reported to be suffering from various ailments.
The Danish yacht was hijacked two days after four US citizens aboard another hijacked sailing yacht SY QUEST were shot dead, reportedly by their captors as US naval forces closed in.
Puntland security forces attempted but failed to rescue the hostages in March when they were held ashore, forcing the pirates to move them to the MV Dover. A Danish negotiation team camped in the port town of Bosaso and held several meetings trying to secure the release of the hostages. Several traditional elders from Bari region were also sent to the area as part of the negotiation team.
This article was posted via somaliareport.com. To find out more, please visit www.MaritimeSecurity.Asia