The MT Bunga Melati Dua, the second Malaysian tanker hijacked by Somalian pirates, has been freed.
Sources said US$2mil (RM6.9mil) in ransom was paid for each of the tankers.
The vessel and its crew are now on the way to the East African country of Djibouti, the sources said.
The release comes two days after the MT Bunga Melati Lima was freed by the pirates on Saturday night. MT Bunga Melati Dua, with a crew of 29 Malaysian and 10 Filipinos, was hijacked on Aug 19 in the Gulf of Aden.
One of the Filipino crew members was killed when he was hit by a stray bullet.
Ten days later, the MT Bunga Melati Lima, with 36 Malaysian and five Filipino crew members, was also hijacked while sailing from Yanbu in Saudi Arabia to Singapore.
The sources said the MT Bunga Melati Dua was released at 4.14am yesterday and that all its crew was safe.
They added that the ship, together with the MT Bunga Melati Lima, was being escorted by Malaysian Navy ships KD Lekiu and KD Sri Inderapura to Djibouti.
“The crew change over for both ships is expected to take place in Djibouti on Friday,” the sources added.
It is not known if the crew, who have been held captive on board both vessels for more than a month, would return to Malaysia.
A relative of one of the crew of MT Bunga Melati Lima said MISC had contacted her and said some of the crew were in Yemen.
Norazlina Mat Salleh, the sister of Mohamed Nazeri, said her brother had also undergone medical checks in Yemen.
She was not told when they would return.
East African Seafarers Assistance Programme head Andrew Mwangura, said the ransom for the MT Bunga Melati Dua had been paid on Sunday.
“I want to thank the Malaysian government for talking things out (with the pirates) and not using force,” he said when contacted yesterday.
Mwangura, who is based in Mombasa, Kenya, said he was kept informed of what was happening in the region by local fishermen and officials.
MISC has refused to comment on the issue, apparently for fear that any comment could jeopardise the safety of the ships.
Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican is expected to hold a press conference today on the matter.
Tuesday September 30, 2008