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Somali pirates holding Japanese tanker demand $1 million ransom

Nairobi:  Somali pirates who seized a Japanese tanker six weeks ago have threatened to kill the 22 crew members unless a $1 million ransom is paid, a maritime official told AP Monday.
The Golden Nori is carrying crew from the Philippines, South Korea and Myanmar.
"Somali pirates holding the Japanese ship are demanding US$1 million," said Andrew Mwangura, head of the Kenya-based East Africa Seafarers' Assistance Program. "They are also saying we are going to kill the crew if our demands are not met."
The chemical tanker was anchored in Somali waters and carrying up to 40,000 tons of highly explosive benzene. The U.S. Navy in late October came to the aid of the vessel, with the guided missile destroyer USS Porter at one point opening fire to destroy pirate skiffs tied to it. The pirates, though, remained aboard the tanker.  [11/12/07]


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