Reports received by Somalia Report suggest that the MT Liquid Velvet, a Greek-owned chemical tanker, hijacked on October 31st last year, has finally been freed by Somali pirates.
The MT Liquid Velvet was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden as she transited from Suez to India. The vessel carried 21 Filipino crew members and was taken in position 12.02N-045.38E when it was attacked but eight armed pirates in a skiff.
The 17-year-old tanker has a gross tonnage of 5,998 tons and is Marshall Islands-flagged, owned by Athens-based Elmira Tankers.
The initial ransom demand of $8million was made some 49 days after the vessel was hijacked. Somalia Report is now trying to establish the amount of ransom paid to hijackers. It’s believed the Liquid Velvet was being held by Aw-Kombe, a well-known pirate from the Bari region.
Last reports have the vessel heading to the port of Salalah, Oman, while the Philippine embassy in Muscat has been asked to send representatives to meet the vessel.
The pirate gang who released the Greek-owned Liquid Velvet claim to have received a $4million ransom for the vessel, which they then released on Tuesday June 5th. The group moved the vessel from Buq village into deeper waters before releasing the captive crew.
“They released the vessel on 5th june, we were not aware that they released the vessel because the negotiation of the released failed two times before Tuesday, and this group moved from Buq village to the miles in the sea, and after they released they return to the land with speed boats,” Faysal, a pirate man in Garacad area told Somalia Report.
Pirate sources in Garacad indicated that the ransom was $4million, as the gang holding the vessel claimed.
Aw-kombe and his gang come from the Bari region and were heavily involved in the hijacking of the Liquid Velvet. The commander of the gang is Cabdule Gabobe of the Omar Mohamud sub-clan of Majerteen. Buq village is a small settlement around 30km from Garacad, in Mudug region.
Somalia Report will continue to follow the movement of the ransom money and report on any additional developments.
This article was posted by Neptune Maritime Security with the kind permission of SomaliaReport.com. MaritimeSecurity.Asia in cooperation with www.neptunemaritimesecurity.com