The pirates say the ransom will free the ship's 21 crew members - one of whom has died of an apparent heart attack - as well as its cargo of T-72 tanks, rifles and ammunition. The US Navy has said it wants to keep the arms out of the hands of militants linked to al Qaeda in Somalia, said to be a key battleground in the war on terrorism. A spokesman for the pirates denied reports of a deadly shootout and added that the captors had been celebrating Eid al Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan. Sugule Ali said: "We are happy on the ship and we are celebrating. Nothing has changed. We didn't dispute over a single thing, let alone have a shootout. "We are still surrounded by foreign ships. There is 24-hour surveillance, helicopters are flying overhead, but no action has been taken against us." "We are prepared for any eventuality." Andrew Mwangura, from the Seafarers Assistance Programme, said the naval ships were being asked to pull back in a bid to pave the way for negotiations. "The pirates are paranoid, the situation is very tense in the ship," he said. There have been 24 reported attacks by pirates in Somalia this year, bringing them tens of millions of pounds every year. US Defence Department spokesman Geoff Morrell said officials were working on securing the region's waterways.
September 28, 2008: After three weeks, pirates released an Egyptian ship. The size of the ransom was not mentioned. On the Ukrainian cargo ship Faina, seized on the 25th with its cargo of weapons, one of the 21 crew died (from stress and high blood pressure).The Faina is being held at the port of Hobyo, which is halfway down the east coast of Somalia. Hobyo has long served as a base for pirates. more..http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/somalia/articles/20080929.aspx