Germany's Marida Marguerite tanker and its crew, held by pirates for almost nine months, may soon be released as a ransom of $5.5 million was finally paid, Germany's DPA news agency said.
"We got our money, they were airdropped on [Monday] morning. Our people are preparing to leave the vessel," a pirate leader Khalif Dahir said.
The German-operated tanker with a crew of 19 Indian nationals, two citizens of Bangladesh and one Ukrainian was seized by pirates in a protected shipping corridor on May 8.
According to the London-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB), the number of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden decreased in the first half of 2010 by about 20% year-on-year mostly due to the ongoing anti-piracy operation off the Somali coast.
However, Somali pirates have been reported to shift their attacks from their own coast and were responsible for 44% of the 289 piracy incidents on the world's seas in the first nine months of 2010, according to IMB.
MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti)