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Piracy Does Pay: Somali Pirates Release Greek-Owned Tanker After Ransom is Paid

In case you missed this, the AP reported yesterday:

Somali pirates have released a hijacked Greek-owned tanker with all 19 crew safe and the oil cargo intact after payment of a ransom, the ship’s management company said Saturday.It did not say how much was paid.

The Liberian-flagged tanker MV Genius, seized Sept. 26, was released Friday and is about 500 miles (800 kilometers) off Somalia on its way to the United Arab Emirates, Greek Merchant Marine Ministry spokesman Constantine Gialelis confirmed. He said the crew is Georgian, Sri Lankan and Syrian.

The pirates had seized the 6,765 gross-ton vessel in the Gulf of Aden near the Horn of Africa, waters that have become highly dangerous for shipping.

The pirates contacted the owners right after they hijacked the ship and demanded a ransom, a representative of Piraeus-based Mare Shipmanagement, the tanker’s management company, told The Associated Press.

”Our primary concern is the safety of the ship and its crew. … They released it when ransom was paid,” Ctesiphon Koukoulas told the AP by telephone, without specifying the amount.

He said he could not divulge details because of safety concerns for the crews of other ships held by pirates in the area. At least one other Greek-owned ship is held there.

The crew was safe and the cargo was intact, he said.

This is good news for the crew. But one has to wonder how much ransom was paid. And one has to wonder if simply paying the ransom encourages more piratical acts. The pirates seem content to hold the ships as long as it takes to get a deal.

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Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.