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Pirates dismiss Sirius Star ransom reduction rumours

Eyl: A spokesperson for the Somalian pirates holding Vela-owned VLCC Sirius Star (pictured) for ransom have dismissed news reports indicating that they had decreased their asking price to release the vessels and its 25 hostage seafarers. "We have not changed the amount of the ransom, it remains at exactly $25m. If we want to change it, it will have to be agreed unanimously with all the people involved," pirate leader Mohamed Said is said to have told AFP. News reports had indicated that the pirates had decreased the ransom demand to $15m after strong objections from the UK and Saudi Arabian governments to negotiations with the hijackers.

Said, who stated that the vessel would be moved from time to time for tactical purposes, also rejected threats from the Iranian military for forceful rescue of the tanker (see http://www.seatradeasia-online.com/News/3381.html). "We still have enough people on the ground and on the ship. Nobody can terrorise us. Any attempt to take the ship by force is futile," he maintained.  [24/11/08]

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