A Turkish shipping company owner, whose vessel was hijacked by pirates for ransom off Yemen, is close to a deal, company's lawyer said on Tuesday. (UPDATED)
The Karagol, manned by a 14-strong Turkish crew, was seized on Nov. 12 off the coast of Yemen while transporting 4,500 tons of chemicals from Israel to Mumbai in India.
"We have talked to pirates a couple of times so far. In the first contact, they said they captured the ship. In the second, they asked for a ransom," Kubilay Marangoz, lawyer of YDC Denizcilik, was quoted by Anatolian Agency as saying.
"Later, they told us the amount of the ransom and we began bargaining. At this point, we are close to a deal with pirates," Marangoz said.
He said all crew members on board the ship were in good condition and they all spoke to their families in Turkey.
"We want to get back our ship without any unfortunate incidents. We prefer an agreement instead of an armed intervention," he said.
The Karagol was the second Turkish-owned vessel to be seized in the Gulf of Aden after the M/V Yasa Neslihan was captured on Oct. 29.
Earlier this month, a representative from Yasa company, which owns the ship, said pirates had demanded a ransom in return for the release of the vessel and its 20-man crew. He declined to reveal the sum.
Somali pirates have hijacked a Yemeni ship loaded with steel in the Gulf of Aden, officials said on Tuesday, a day after local sources said the gang holding a Saudi supertanker were demanding a $15 million ransom.
Piracy is rife and well organized in the region where Somalia’s northeastern tip juts into the Indian Ocean, preying on a key maritime route leading to the Suez Canal.