Dec 27 (Reuters) - A helicopter dropped a $4 million ransom payment on Sunday on to the deck of the De Xin Hai, a Chinese coal ship hijacked by Somali pirates in mid-October, a pirate source on the vessel said. The ship, which carried about 76,000 tonnes of coal and 25 Chinese crew, was seized on Oct. 19.
Here is a list of ships under the control of Somali pirates:
* WIN FAR 161: Taiwanese tuna boat, seized on April 6, 2009.
* KOTA WAJAR: Seized on Oct. 15, 2009. The 24,637-tonne container ship, seized 300 miles north of Seychelles, was heading for Mombasa from Singapore and had 21 crew on board.
* AL KHALIQ - Seized on Oct. 22, 2009. The Panamanian-registered ship carried 26 crew, 24 of them Indian. It is owned and operated by SNP Shipping of Mumbai. The 38,305 dwt bulk carrier was seized west of the Seychelles.
* THAI UNION 3 - Seized on Oct. 29, 2009. Pirates on two skiffs boarded the tuna fishing boat with 23 Russians, two Filipinos and two Ghanaians on board.
* FILITSA: Seized on Nov. 10, 2009. The 23,709 dwt cargo ship had three Greek officers a Filipino crew. The Marshall Islands-flagged ship had been heading from Kuwait to Durban, South Africa, when it was attacked 500 miles northeast of the Seychelles.
* THERESA VIII: Seized on Nov. 16, 2009. The chemical tanker was hijacked in the south Somali Basin, northwest of the Seychelles. The 22,294 dwt tanker had a crew of 28 North Koreans. The captain of the tanker died from gunshot wounds sustained during the hijack, a Somali pirate said.
* MARAN CENTAURUS: Seized Nov 29, 2009: The tanker was sailing from Kuwait to the Gulf of Mexico when it was seized near the Seychelles. The tanker had nine Greeks, two Ukrainians, one Romanian and 16 Filipinos on board and was carrying around two million barrels of crude oil.
* SHAHBAIG: Seized Dec. 6, 2009: Pirates seized the Pakistani-flagged fishing vessel, with a crew of 29 on board, thought to be Pakistani, 320 miles east of Socotra.
* PIRACY FACTS:
— There were 324 pirate attacks worldwide in the year to Oct. 20, with 37 vessels hijacked and 639 hostages taken. In the same period in 2008 there were 194 attacks, 36 ships hijacked and 631 hostages, according to the latest figures from the ICC International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB).
— Of the 324 incidents, attacks by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden and the east coast of Somalia numbered 174, with 35 vessels hijacked and 587 crew taken hostage.
— Nearly 20,000 ships pass through the Gulf of Aden each year, heading to and from the Suez Canal. Sources: Reuters/Ecoterra International/International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre/Lloyds List/Inquirer.net