_______________________________ 1 – REUTERS (En Anglais)
Un bâtiment de la marine US surveille le cargo Farina qui transporte un important arsenal militaire, pendant que les discussions continuent avec les pirates pour obtenir sa libération contre rançon. Elles devraient aboutir rapidement. //
U.S. warship backs off as pirate talks continue A U.S. destroyer tracking a hijacked Ukrainian cargo ship loaded with tanks has backed off and ransom talks look to be nearing a conclusion, a Somali official said on Thursday.
A surge in piracy this year in the busy Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean off Somalia has pushed up insurance costs, brought the gangs tens of millions of dollars in ransoms, and prompted foreign navies to rush to the area.
The gangs are holding about a dozen ships and nearly 300 crew. Among the captured vessels is Ukraine’s MV Faina and a Saudi tanker loaded with $100 million of oil, the Sirius Star.
Aweys Ali Said, chairman of Somalia’s Galkayo town, said negotiations to free both ships were going well.
“The pirates have regained hope of getting a ransom (for the Faina). Ukrainian and Somali men from abroad are involved in the bargaining,” he told Reuters by telephone.
“I’m sure America is also playing a role because the warship has moved some kms (miles) further away.”
The U.S. Navy sent a destroyer and other vessels to track the Faina after it was seized by Somali gunmen in September.
Lieutenant Nathan Christensen, a spokesmen for the U.S. Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain, said several U.S. vessels remained within sight of the cargo ship — which is carrying 33 Soviet-era T-72 tanks and other heavy weapons.
A business associate of the pirates holding the Faina told Reuters in October they were seeking $8 million to release it.
On Tuesday, Somali pirates freed a Yemeni cargo ship they seized last week after successful talks between regional authorities, clan elders and the gunmen, local officials said.
Also on Tuesday, the U.N. Security Council renewed its authorisation for countries to use force against the gunmen operating off the anarchic Horn of Africa nation.
France’s U.N. ambassador, Jean-Maurice Ripert, said the move sent a very strong signal and would allow the European Union to begin an air and naval operation off Somalia on Dec. 8.
Attacks at sea have increased this year as chaos has mounted onshore. Islamist rebels have been fighting Somalia’s deeply divided interim government since the start of last year and are camped just outside the capital Mogadishu.