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Crew of Samho Dream say pirates used VLCC to hijack other vessels

Manila: The Filipino crew of the VLCC Samho released by Somali pirates earlier this month say it was used to hijack a fishing vessel, which was later used to hijack another tanker the Panama-flagged Polar. A statement at the weekend by the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs said 19 Filipino seafarers from the Samho Dream returned home on 13 November and were in good health and high spirits and glad to be home. The Samho Dream was hijacked on the 4 April by 50 pirates armed with AK-47 rifles, rocket propelled grenades and pistols. The Filipino seafarers said the tanker was later used to hijack an Iranian fishing boat. The Iranian fishing vessel was in turn used to hijack the Panama-flagged tanker Polar on October 30. Previous reports said the Samho Dream had been used a mothership by the pirates although it was unclear if any attacks were launched. The Samho Dream was released on 6 November after a record $9.5m ransom was reportedly paid. [22/11/10]

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