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Singapore-flagged Boxship MV KOTA WAJAR freed in Somalia. Fate of British yacht-sailors not known

Somali pirates have released the Singapore-flagged container ship MV KOTA WAJAR after nearly 10 weeks in captivity, the EU naval task force Atalante confirmed Monday night. 

The Kota Wajar was released outside Haradheere off the Somali coast and the Canadian warship HMCS Fredericton is providing it with medical and logistical assistance, the task force said in a statement.

The The 24,637-tonne vessel and its multinational 21 men crew on board, of which two are Singaporean 5 Sri Lankan and 4 Indian, had been hijacked by pirates in the Indian Ocean some 300 nautical miles (540km) north of the Seychelles on October 15 while it was sailing to the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

Somali pirates had used the ship to aide another group in abducting a British couple, which they lifted from their 38-ft yacht S/Y LYNN RIVAL, seized October,22 2009 en route to Tanzania, under the eyes of the UK naval vessel WAVEKNIGHT while coming to the Somali coast. The WAVEKNIGHT recovered only the yacht and brought it back to England.

The elderly couple - Paul and Rachel Chandler - have been held since then on and off the MV Kota Wajar and recently were kept on land.

At present it is not known if an envisaged deal to have the Chandlers released together with the boxship worked out. It is however feared that they were left behind, since the container ship was moved from Hobyo to Harardheere for the release.
© Ecoterra -

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