Romanian ForMin confirms: All 5 Romanian hostages on Buccaneer tugboat, released

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The Romanian Foreign Ministry on Monday confirmed the release of all 5 Romanian sailors on the Italian tugboat Buccaneer, who, alongside 10 Italians and 1 Croatian, had been taken hostage by Somalis pilots on April 11.

The Italian Foreign Ministry on Sunday evening announced the release of the entire crew, made up of 16 sailors.
According to the general manager of Micoperi company of Ravenna, the tugboat’s owner, the ship is already on its way to Djibouti and should get there in a few days under military escort.

According to the Italian Foreign Ministry, the release is the result of the hard wok of the Italian diplomacy and secret services, of the collaboration with the authorities of Somalia’s central government and of the autonomous region of Puntland.

Four of the five Romanian sailors are from Constanta and 1 from Bucharest. The five Romanian sailors aged between 28 and 35 boarded on February 20 on an Italian ship owned by Micoperi Marine Contractors company in Ravenna, sailing between Singapore and Italy.

The five Romanians flew to Singapore in February , their labor contracts with the Italian company being signed at the Crusche Crewing agency in Ovidiu, Constanta county, property of Romanian businessman Adrian A.

The abductors initially asked for 30-million dollar ransom and later settled for 2 or 3 million dollars.

The Buccaneer tugboat is the first Italian ship ever sequestered by Somali pirates. The Italian media speculated in April, the first days after the abduction, that the crew would be quickly released, given Italy’s influence in its former colony.

These speculations were fed by the optimism voiced by some Italian officials such as the PM Silvio Brelusconi, Chamber of Deputies Speaker Gianfranco Fini and head of diplomacy Franco Frattini.

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