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Faina ransomed free from Somali pirates

Faina ransomed free from Somali pirates

Eyl: The Ukrainian ro-ro vessel, the MV Faina (pictured) has been released after a successful of a ransom reported to be in the range of $3.5m. The Belize-flagged vessel had been making its way from Ukraine to an African destination laden with arms including 33 T-72 tanks and other military equipment, when it was hijacked by Somali pirates on 25 September 2008.  

The vessel was anchored near the village of Hinbarwaqo during the ransom negotiations, and is expected to complete its journey in the near future.

"We hear the pirates are leaving the Faina now in small groups and it will be underway shortly. We hear they (the pirates) are counting the money but I don't want to say any more until the crew is on dry land," Reuters reports Andrew Mwangura of the Mombasa-based East African Seafarers Assistance Programme as saying.  

The 20 crew members onboard the vessel are reported to in good health - this does not include Vladimir Kolobkov, the ship's Russian captain, who passed away from a heart attack in September following the capture.  [05/02/09]