Three Somali pirates have been killed and others wounded in an overnight gun battle concerning the sharing of a ransom paid for the release of a Greek-flagged supertanker. ” ‘The fighting started during an argument over the dividing of the ransom paid for the ship,’ Bashir Shiine Muse, a pirate who claims his group hijacked the Maran Centaurus, said by telephone from Haradhere today. ‘Three men died and three others were wounded during the crossfire. Local elders are trying to mediate between the two sides.’ The ransom, believed to be a record $7 million, was dropped onto the tanker on Jan. 17, Muse said. ‘There is mistrust within the group because there are rumors that some extra money has been transferred into another bank account that some of us weren’t aware of,’ he said. The 2-million barrel carrier was seized about 800 miles (1,280 kilometers) off the Somali coast on Nov. 29 while sailing to the U.S. from Kuwait. It was steered toward the Somali coast where it lay at anchor off the port of Hobyo, the International Maritime Bureau said on Dec. 10. The oil it is carrying is estimated to be worth $150 million.”
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