Pirates release Greek supertanker Maran CentaurusJan 18th, 2010 | By staff | Category: Top Story
(18 Jan. 2010). The supertanker Maran Centaurus and its 28-man crew, 16 of whom are Filipinos, were released by Somali pirates at 8:30 a.m. (Greece time) today and is now headed for Durban, South Africa, escorted by a Greek naval ship.
Maran Centaurus, a Greek 300,294- dwt tanker, was hijacked some 762 miles off the coast of Somalia on November 29, 2009 enroute to New Orleans, USA from Mina Al Ahmadi, Kuwait. The vessel had on board nine Greeks, two Ukranians, one Romanian and 16 Filipinos. It has been the biggest vessel, as well as the farthest from the Somali coast, hijacked by the Somali pirates, facts which created a shock wave in the global shipping industry.
Capt. Manthos Koutsothanasis, the crew manager of Maran Tankers Management Inc., informed the Athens Philippine Embassy labor office that the crew had undergone medical check-up and were found to be all well. Their manning agent in the Philippines is Friendly Maritime Services, Inc.
A New York Times article claimed that, a ransom of $5.5 to 7 million was dropped yesterday, the biggest ever paid to the Somali pirates, followed by a feud among the pirates which caused a delay in the release of the ship.
Maran Centaurus was carrying about 2 million barrels of oil worth roughly $150 million. The hijacking of Maran Centaurus is thus considered the largest and most audacious highjacking in maritime history. It was only the second oil tanker captured by Somali pirates ever. The Saudi-owned Sirius Star, with a crew of 25 men, was hijacked on 15 November last year. The 330-meter ship held 2 million barrels of oil valued at about $100 million and was released on 11 January 2009 upon payment of a $3 million ransom, the largest ever paid at that time.
The Filipino crew released are as follows: Vincent M. Ombid; Marvin P. Montecillo; Movo T. Aragon; Allan Bayocboc; Salvador Quiocho; Paul Anthony Piraza; Ulysis T. Velasquez; Eric A. Castro; Fermin A. Panaligan, Jr.; Vincent C. Amante ; Lester C. Estrada ; Jessie B. Basalo; Ezemar Vlla Soreso ; Franscisco de Guzman ; Ronald F. Lecitivo; and Henry Suano.
The Athens Philippine Embassy labor office continues to monitor the conditions and safety of 37 other Filipino seamen on board two Greek-owned ships –Filitsa and Navi Apollon – seized by Somali pirates on 11 November and 28 December 2009, respectively, and now berthed off the coast of Somalia. There are 22 more Filipino seamen on three other ships owned each by Taiwanese, Thai and British companies, also hijacked by the pirates. Atty. George Eduvala, Labor Attache