Somali pirates free Bangladesh-flagged vessel, MV Abdullah

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Somali pirates have released a ship from Bangladesh and its crew of 23 sailors after a ransom was reportedly paid.

The MV Abdullah was carrying coal from Mozambique to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) when it was captured by pirates off the coast of Somalia about a month ago.

The pirates claimed to have received $5 million (£4 million) in ransom, but there’s no independent confirmation of this.

There has been a rise in hijackings off Somalia’s coast in recent months, with more than a dozen ships targeted since late November.

Security experts say that a lack of security presence in Somalia’s waters, as foreign navies focus on the Red Sea due to attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebel group, has contributed to the spike in piracy.

Between 2005 and 2012, pirates in the region made between $339 million and $413 million by holding crews for ransom, according to estimates by the World Bank.

According to two pirates interviewed by Nwoow news agency, a $5 million ransom was paid for the release of the MV Abdullah and its crew. They claimed to have verified the authenticity of the money before leaving to avoid government forces.

The owner of the ship, the KSRM Group, confirmed that negotiations led to the release of the vessel and its crew.

“We reached an agreement with the pirates,” said Mizanul Islam of SR Shipping, the maritime arm of the group, to AFP news agency.

“We can’t disclose more details about the money,” he added, “but all crew members are safe and sound.”

The ship has since sailed to the UAE under the escort of two warships.

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