Sept 14 (Reuters) - Somali pirates freed a Greek-owned ship on Monday after the gang received a $2 million ransom for the vessel and its 21 Filipino crew, one of the pirates said.
The Irene E.M. bulk carrier was seized on April 13 in the Gulf of Aden, where gangs from Somalia have made tens of millions of dollars in ransoms by targeting vessels using the strategic shipping lanes that link Europe to Asia.
Here is a list of some ships believed to be still under the control of Somali pirates:
SERENITY: The catamaran sailing for Madagascar from the Seychelles with three people aboard, was seized in March 2009.
INDIAN OCEAN EXPLORER: Seized March 2009. The 35-metre boat was built in Hamburg for oceanographic research. It accommodates about 12 passengers. Pirates have freed the seven crew.
WIN FAR 161: Taiwanese tuna boat, seized April 6, 2009.
SAMARA AHMED: Seized April 10, 2009. The Egyptian fishing vessel was captured with 16 crew.
MOMTAZ 1: Seized April 10, 2009. The Egyptian fishing vessel was taken with 18 crew.
ARIANA: Seized May 2, 2009. The Ariana was seized north of Madagascar en route to the Middle East from Brazil. The 24 Ukrainian crew were said to be unhurt. The ship, flying a Maltese flag, belongs to All Oceans shipping in Greece.
VICTORIA: Seized on May 5, 2009. The Antigua and Barbuda- flagged cargo vessel was hijacked by eight pirates in the Gulf of Aden on its way to the port of Jeddah. The 146-metre ship has a crew of 11 Romanians.
CHARELLE: Seized on June 12, 2009. The 2,800-tonne cargo ship carrying about nine crew, was attacked 60 miles south of Oman. Lloyds reported the vessel was owned by shipping firm Tarmstedt International.
HORIZON-1: Seized on July 8, 2009. The 34,173 dwt bulk carrier, believed to be carrying sulphate, was hijacked with 23 Turkish crew aboard.
* PIRACY KEY FACTS:
-- Piracy attacks around the world more than doubled to 240 from 114 during the first six months of the year compared with the same period in 2008, the ICC International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB) said in July.
-- The rise in overall numbers is due almost entirely to increased Somali pirate activity. In the first half of 2009 attacks soared to 148 from 25 in the same period a year ago.
-- Of those 148 attacks, 31 resulted in successful hijackings by Somali pirates, including one attack off Oman's coast. In 2008, there were 111 incidents including 42 vessels hijacked in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia.
-- 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
(For main story please click on [ID:nLE87527]) (For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: africa.reuters.com/) (Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit;)