19 Filipino crew in supertanker 'Mt. Samho Dream' released PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 10:26

The South Korean-operated oil tanker, 'Mt. Samho Dream,' has been released along with its 19 Filipino and five South Korean crew members by their Somali captors, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday.

All crew members of the Marshall Island-flagged vessel were reported “in good condition” by the Philippine embassy in Kenya, which has consular jurisdiction over Somalia.

Procedurally, DFA was mum about ransoms being paid to secure the release; but it is well-known in the industry that owners assume such deals during negotiations.

Because of the characteristics of the Singapore-owned vessel, keen observers estimated the ransom could have reached beyond US$ 5 million.

'Mt Samho Dream' was en route to the United States from Iraq when it was hijacked by Somali pirates while she was sailing in the Indian Ocean, about 1,500 kilometers southeast of the Gulf of Aden on April 4 this year.

The capture of the supertanker, said to be carrying about two million barrels of crude oil, valued at US$ 170 billion, in its hold when attacked, was believed the “most audacious” ever undertaken by Somali pirates.

'Mt Samho Dream' was touted the biggest supertanker ever successfully attacked in the Gulf of Aden.

Until their release on November 6, the 19 crewmen were among the 91 Filipino seafarers held captive so far in various hijacking incidents off the Gulf Aden and neighboring seas in the past months.

The numbers vary from time to time because while there are releases there are also captivities in the incessant maritime piracy campaigns by allegedly impoverished Somali criminals.