Somali pirates strike deal on Ukrainian ship


Somali pirates and owners of a Ukrainian ship carrying 33 tanks and other military hardware have reached a deal to release the vessel, a Kenyan maritime official said today.

"They have reached a deal but are still discussing the modalities of releasing the ship, crew and cargo," said Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme. He said he did not know whether any ransom had been paid.

Gunmen captured the MV Faina on September 24th and demanded $20 million in ransom. The ship was carrying 33 T-72 tanks, grenade launchers and ammunition destined for Kenya's Mombasa port.

A piracy wave in the Gulf of Aden has jacked up shipping insurance costs, sent foreign warships rushing to the area, and left about a dozen vessels with more than 200 hostages still in hijackers' hands.