5 December 2012

Kenya: Pirates Free Four Korean Vessel Crew

Four South Korean crew members of a Singaporean palm oil vessel, captured by pirates last year have arrived in Mombasa Sources confirmed that the group was received at the Mbaraki wharf at the port on Monday at 6 am by Korean officials, and later preparations made for them to fly to Nairobi on the same day.

They arrived onboard a South Korean warship which refuelled and left the port moments after they alighted, according to Seafarers Union of Kenya Secretary General Andrew Mwangura.

It was confirmed they spent the night in one of the hotels in Nairobi after being received by their embassy officials, and jetted out of the country via the 10am Korean Airlines, yesterday.

The four, include the master of the vessel Capt. Park Heon Yul and his three crew mates, had been held back when their vessel- MT Gemini was released by pirates in April this year.

The vessel, according to Mwangura, was hijacked by pirates on April 30th 2011 while under way approximately 180 nautical miles east of Malindi.

The crew members were however said to be in good health when they arrived in the country. The vessel, which is owned by the Singapore based Golden Spring Line, docked at the port of Mombasa on April 12 this year after she was released by the hijackers.

Mwangura said gunmen held the crew ashore demanding to be paid Sh340 million by the South Korean government.

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