“Somali pirates hijacked a UK-flagged chemical tanker in the Gulf of Aden on the same day they released a Singapore-flagged container ship, pirates and maritime officials said today. Pirates told Reuters they had received a ransom for the Singaporean vessel Kota Wajar and freed the ship with its crew on Monday. The release was confirmed by the European Union naval force (EU Navfor) patrolling waters off Somalia. ‘We have received $4 million and released the ship and its 21 crew late yesterday,’ pirate Mohamed told Reuters. ‘The crew were happy and clapping when our friends got down from the ship.’ The 24,637-tonne Kota Wajar was seized on Oct. 15 north of the Seychelles archipelago as it was sailing to the Kenyan port of Mombasa from Singapore. EU Navfor said the Canadian warship HMCS Fredericton was now providing medical and logistical help. Somalia has been mired in anarchy since 1991. The chaos onshore has allowed piracy to flourish in the busy shipping lanes linking Europe to Asia and pushed up insurance premiums.”
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