MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — The body of a Somali pirate who drowned just after receiving part of a ransom washed ashore with more than $150,000 in cash, a resident of Xarardheere, a coastal town, said Sunday.
Five pirates drowned Friday when their small boat capsized after they received a reported $3 million ransom for releasing a Saudi oil tanker. Omar Abdi Hassan, the resident, said that one of the bodies had been found on a beach near Xarardheere and that his relatives were searching for the other four pirates.
“One of them was discovered, and they are still looking for the other ones,” he said. “He had $153,000 in a plastic bag in his pocket.”
The United States Navy released photographs of a package dropped with a parachute onto the deck of the Sirius Star, the Saudi oil tanker, and said the item was likely to be the ransom delivery.
But five of the dozens of pirates who had hijacked the tanker drowned when their small boat capsized as they returned to shore in rough weather. Three other pirates survived but lost their share of the ransom.
Graeme Gibbon-Brooks, managing director of the British company Dryad Maritime Intelligence Service, said the episode was unlikely to deter attacks.
“The loss or potential loss of the ransom means the pirates will be all the more keen to get the next ransom in,” he said. “There are people lining up to be pirates.”
The Sirius Star had been held near a Ukrainian cargo ship, the Faina, that was loaded with Soviet-designed battle tanks and crates of small arms. The same day the Sirius Star was released, family members of those on the Faina’s crew appealed for help, saying they were not being kept informed about the negotiations or the health of their relatives on board.
But a pirate spokesman told The Associated Press on Sunday that the 20 crew members on the Faina were doing well.
“The cargo is still there unharmed, and the crew is healthy,” the spokesman, Sugule Ali, said. “Once the negotiations end in mutual understanding, the ship, its crew and the cargo as well will be released.”
There have been several false alarms about the release of the Faina since it was seized in September. Mr. Ali said the pirates were still negotiating with the ship’s owners..