Piracy REPORT:Piracy
MV Asphalt Venture Freed
$3.5M Ransom Dropped Onto Vessel
UPDATE as April 16th 2130 local time: The Mobassa-based salvage tug MT Solstar is slowly towing the Asphalt Venture back to Mombassa, Kenya.


The MV Asphalt Venture has been freed after a $3.5M ransom was dropped onboard Friday afternoon, maritime sources said.

Pirates were still holding seven of the Indian crew members hostage in Harardhere, while there are eight crew members on board the freed vessel, the source told Somalia Report.

The pirates are reportedly angry that the ransom they received was lower than they expected, and are holding the remaining crew members with a view to extracting more money - a tactic that has been used in the past. There was as of yet no confirmation how much money had already been paid or what the pirates expected.

A few minutes after it was freed, the Panama-flagged bitumen and asphalt carrier was seen waiting for tug boats to pull her out of Somali waters. The ship was believed to be suffering from an unknown mechanical problem.

The vessel was taken on September 28 after leaving Mombasa, Kenya. Pirates seized the ship around 120 nautical miles south-east of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania as it headed down to Durban, South Africa.

Irene SL Drifing

In the meantime, the Irene SL is drifting off Mombassa under mysterious circumstances after she was released by pirates on April 8th.

Port authorties tell Somalia Report that the Greek-owned vessel has not yet asked for port clearance.