Saudi approves $20m ransom for hijacked ship

Owner of Saudi ship has lost $8m as a result of the hijack in March.
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Owners of a Saudi product tanker hijacked five months ago by Somali pirates is set to pay the $20m ransom, according to a report in Arab News on Monday.

Kamal Arri, manager of International Bunkering, the company which owns the Al Nisr Al Saudi ship, told the paper the insurance company had agreed to pay the ransom after the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) gave preliminary approval.

"We are now waiting for the Interior Ministry's approval," he told the paper.

The vessel, which has a deadweight of 5,136 tonnes, was returning to Jeddah after delivering its cargo to Japan in March. Among its crew are a Greek master and a 13 Sri Lankan sailors.

Pirates seized the ship outside the Internationally Recognised Transit Corridor (IRTC) and took it to their stronghold of Garacad, on the Somali coast.

Arri told the paper his company had lost SR30m ($8m) as a result of the hijack.

In December 2008, representatives of Saudi Aramco subsidiary Vela International struck a deal with Somali pirates to release the Sirius Star supertanker, which was carrying $100m worth of oil, in what was the world’s biggest ship hijacking.

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