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Danish family kidnapped over six months ago released by Somali pirates

The family, including three teenagers, and two crew members were kidnapped by pirates as they sailed in the Indian Ocean – a piracy hotspot.

File photo of bridge crew on the Swedish warship HMSwMS Carlskrona coordinating shipping escorts and looking out for pirates off the Somali coast.
File photo of bridge crew on the Swedish warship HMSwMS Carlskrona coordinating shipping escorts and looking out for pirates off the Somali coast.
Image: AP Photo/Tim Freccia

SOMALI PIRATES have released a Danish family and crew taken hostage back in February as they sailed their 43-foot yacht in the Indian Ocean.

The family of five, including  three teenagers, was kidnapped along with two crew members on 24 February between the Maldives and the Arabian Sea. They managed to send a distress signal during the attack, but were taken before ships responding to the signal arrived on the scene.

Copenhagen Post report from the time of the kidnapping says that Danish experts in security were surprised the family had ignored warnings about the region, which is known for its high level of pirate attacks, hijackings and kidnappings.

An unsuccessful attempt to rescue them was made in early March, after which the pirates warned they would kill the hostages if there were any further efforts to rescue them.

The Danish Foreign Ministry said in a statement today that all seven people had been released and are “well”, considering the circumstances.

According to Reuters, a pirate who contacted the news agency from Somalia said that the group had been given a $3 million ransom yesterday. The Danish ministry has not commented on the ransom report.

Pirate attacks

The ministry also said today that six crew members, two Danes and four Filipinos, of a cargo ship are still behind held by pirates and efforts to secure their release continue.

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A record number of 1,100 people were taken hostage by pirates in 2010, according to figures by the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau, which monitors maritime piracy. Of the 53 ships attacked last year, 49 were off the coast of Somalia.

Earlier this summer the IMB said that pirate attacks had increased in the first six months of this year compared with last year. The organisation said that Somali pirates were “taking higher risks” during monsoon season and have begun targeting ships in more difficult conditions than previously.

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