Somali pirates free hijacked Bangladeshi vessel MV Abdullah after counting ransom

Cargo vessel was hijacked 600 miles east of Mogadishu in March

Arpan Rai
Monday 15 April 2024 12:23 BST
Somali pirates' hostages freed

Somali pirates freed hijacked ship MV Abdullah and its crew on Sunday after receiving a $5mn ransom.

Abdirashiid Yusuf, one of the pirates involved in the hijacking, confirmed the release of the Bangladeshi cargo vessel.

“The money was brought to us two nights ago as usual,” he told Reuters. “We checked whether the money was fake or not. Then we divided the money into groups and left, avoiding the government forces.”

The pirates also released all 23 of the ship’s crew members, he added.

The Somali government has not made a statement.

The vessel was hijacked about 600 miles east of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on 12 March. It was sailing from Mozambique in the Indian Ocean to the United Arab Emirates, carrying 55,000 tonnes of coal.

“A group of 15-20 Somali pirates hijacked the ship,” said Meherul Karim, chief executive officer of Kabir Steel Re-Rolling Mills, the owner of the vessel.

According to ship’s tracking data, MV Adbullah came to a halt in the Indian Ocean before reversing its course and heading to the Somali coast, Bloomberg reported.

Kabir Steel Re-Rolling Mills released an audio message from one of the crew members who said the pirates came in two speedboats and opened fire as they boarded the vessel.

After five years of relative dormancy, piracy has picked up in the Indian Ocean since late last year. For a decade from 2008 to 2018, Somali pirates had made the seas off the country’s long coastline too dangerous for ships to sail in.

The resurgence in piracy around Somalia compounds a security crisis in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, which Yemen’s Houthis have made almost impassable for vessels from mostly Western nations, prompting retaliatory measures from the US and the UK.

Maritime industry sources said pirates may be encouraged by a relaxation of security or may be taking advantage of the chaos caused by the Houthi attacks on Western shipping. The Houthis have vowed to continue their attacks until Israel stops its war on Gaza.

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