Monday, March 2, 2009

Foreign Ministry: Romanian sailors captured by Somali pirates are safe

BUCHAREST, March. 2 (Xinhua) -- The two Romanian sailors captured by Somali pirates are safe, the Romanian Foreign Ministry said Monday.

According to the ministry, the Romanian embassy in Athens was in permanent contact with the company owning the ship that was kidnapped in Somali territorial waters, which is working to free the crew.

"The information we got reveals that all the members of the crew, the two Romanian citizens included, are safe," said the foreign ministry.

Two Romanian sailors, on board a ship under Maltese colors, have been prisoners of Somali pirates for more than a week after the ship was captured in the Gulf of Aden.

According to the representative of the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) to Romania, Adrian Mihalcioiu, the 75,000-ton Saldaha ore ship was captured on February 22 while it was carrying coal from Slovenia to Malaysia, with 22 sailors on board -- two Romanians, 19 Filipinos and one Ukrainian.

"In such cases prates ask for ransoms both for freeing the crews and for the ships, and we had other cases of Romanian sailors kidnapped by Somali pirates, but not recent ones, in 2005 or 2006. The sailors were freed every time," said Adrian Mihalcioiu.

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