Somali pirates who captured a Greek-owned oil tanker with Filipino seamen aboard are fighting over ransom, a news site reported over the weekend.
The news site Somalia Report cited sources who said the Ilaalo group, the security detail guarding the MT Liquid Velvet, refused to take orders from their seniors.
“The conflict was a serious one related to ransom negotiations, but yesterday it turned physical," The Somalia Report quoted a source said to be close to the pirate group in Garacad.
The conflict reportedly occurred over the last few days when they failed to agree upon the desired amount of ransom. On December 19 last year, the pirates demanded $8 million as ransom. The Somalia Report said the negotiations were already at an advanced stage before a rift emerged among the pirates — between the investors and the pirates who are on the ship.
The pirates aboard the vessel were open to any amount of ransom offered by the owner of the ship but the investors were demanding at least $8 million in ransom. Hijacking incident
Pirates hijacked the MT Liquid Velvet on November 1 last year. The vessel had a 22-member crew, including 21 Filipinos and a Greek national.
The hijacking occurred in the Gulf of Aden while the vessel was on its way to India from the Suez.
The leader of the hijacking group is Aw-kowbe, a well-known pirate from Bari region.
The Somalia Report said the Ilaalo group prevented the investors from accessing the hijacked ship and disregarded their orders last Friday.
Different pirates groups The report explained that when Somali pirates hijack a vessel, they move it to the Somali coastline, where the hijackers turn over the vessel to another group of pirates, called the Ilaalo,
who serve as guards.
Pirate sources said the Ilaalo group does not have the power to negotiate.
During a hijacking operation, Somali pirates appoint someone to serve as chief of the vessel up until the day of releasing it.
That chief is the holder of the vessel, but there are other members who invest him. - VVP, GMA