The FINANCIAL — The two Spanish seamen José Alfonso García y Alfonso Rey, taken hostage from Spanish FV VEGA 5 off Mozambique, have been freed today, 14. May 2011, by their Somali captors against a massive, multi-million-dollar ransom.
They were held back in Somalia while the Somali pirates on VEGA 5, which had gone on another piracy mission, were overpowered and the vessel sunk by the Indian navy. During the Indian naval attack only 13 of the 24 original crew could be rescued. Nine sailors of the crew of the two Spaniards have been killed by the Indian navy attack.
"They two have been released", informed sources in the Spanish Ministry of Environment confirmed to Spanish news agency EFE.
The Spanish foreign ministry said Saturday it could not confirm the release of the two officers, and the media reports quoting government sources gave no further details.
Reportedly the two Spaniards are in the safety of assets from the Spanish fishing company PESCAMAR, a subsidiary of PESCANOVA. Company officials from PESCAMAR requested privacy for the two, the captain and the foreman of the fishing vessel, until they reach home safely and communicated to the Spanish Environment Minister, Mrs. Rosa Aguilar, only that the two are in safety. Their two wives confirmed meanwhile that their husbands are free.
Reports from Somalia, where the two where of recent held on a pirated tanker together with two Danish hostages speak of a massive ransom paid for the release of the Spaniards.
Pirates talking to a news-wire reportedly said a ransom payment was airdropped onto the hijacked Italian tanker on Saturday.
It was, however, not immediately clear if also the two kidnapped Danish seamen from weapons-carrier MV LEOPARD were freed or if they are still on that ship.
Analysts believe that the massive ransom payment was made in order to overcome the swap-demands for two Somalis imprisoned in Spain on a sentence of 439 years each.
Source: Ecoterra Intl.