Somali pirates demand $1 million ransom for Japanese tanker

Published 11 December 2007

One way to make money in Somalia — perhaps the only way — is old-fashion piracy; in the latest episode, pirates demand $1 million for a Japanese tanker, threatening to kill the crew unless their demands are met

We have written several stories about piracy in the waters off Somalia. Here is the latest: Somali pirates who seized a Japanese chemical tanker six weeks ago have demanded a $1 million ransom. They have threatened to kill the twenty-three-man crew unless the ransom is paid. The tanker, the Golden Nori, was sailing from Singapore to Israel with a cargo of chemicals when it was attacked by pirates at the end of October. The ship’s distress calls were picked up by U.S. warships patrolling off the coast of Somalia. The American ships fired on the pirates’ speedboats, sinking two. The warships followed the kidnapped chemical tanker into Somali coastal waters and have trapped the Golden Nori close to the Somali port of Bossaso, preventing supplies from getting to the ship. The BBC’s East Africa correspondent Adam Mynott says Somali coastal waters are now considered to be among the most hazardous in the world. With no effective government, pirates are able to operate largely unchecked, our correspondent says.