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Daily Archives: June 7, 2009

Somali pirates free Nigerian tugboat

Somali pirates have freed a Nigerian tugboat captured around 10 months ago, putting an end to the longest such hijacking off the coast of Somalia, a maritime watchdog said yesterday.
"Yenegoa Ocean is free," said Andrew Mwangura, who heads the Nairobi-based East African Seafarers Assistance Programme.
The ship – owned by Nigerian ESL Integrated Services – and its 11-man Nigerian crew were captured in the Gulf of Aden on August 4, 2008, on its way back from Singapore where it had undergone repairs.
According to a Dutch defence ministry statement, the boat was freed at 1800 GMT on Friday and is being escorted by the Dutch frigate De Zeven Provincien towards Yemen.
"De Zeven Provincien is currently escorting the Yenegoa Ocean after a hijacking by Somali pirates that lasted 10 months," the statement said, adding the navy ship was instructed last night to head for the released tugboat.
"At around 5:30am local time [9:30 Macau time], the [Dutch] unit secured the Yenegoa Ocean. De Zeven Provincien is providing logistical and medical assistance to the crew and is escorting the ship to safety," it said.
Foreign ships hijacked by Somali pirates have rarely been held longer than four or five months in the worst cases, but the Yenegoa Ocean had remained in limbo for months, with talks for its release seemingly at a standstill.
Negotiations intensified in recent weeks, notably with the involvement of a Somali advocacy organisation based in Minnesota and also the captain's family.
A ransom is believed to have been paid, although its amount was not immediately known.

Obama marks D-Day in Normandy

US President Barack Obama joins the leaders of Britain and France and hundreds of World War II veterans yesterday to mark the 65th anniversary of D-Day on the beaches of Normandy.
Star guest of the commemorations, Obama is to deliver a speech before 9,000 people including 200 US D-Day veterans at a clifftop graveyard in northern France which has become a symbol of America's sacrifice for Europe's freedom.
Obama's Normandy visit concludes a history-laden tour of Europe that took in the German concentration camp of Buchenwald and the city of Dresden, flattened by Allied bombs in February 1945 killing an estimated 35,000 people.