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Somali pirates demand $6 million for release of German tanker


BERLIN, January 2 (RIA Novosti) - Pirates have demanded a $6 million ransom for the release of the German gas tanker Longchamp that was captured last Thursday in the Gulf of Aden, German N-24 television reported on Monday.

The report said this was the first demand from the Somali pirates to Bernhard Schulte Ship Management, the Hamburg company that owns the tanker. The firm has not responded.

The Longchamp was carrying 3,500 tons of natural gas from Norway to Vietnam when it was captured in the pirate-infested waters off the East African coast, despite being escorted by Indian warships.

Two pirates were injured during the hijacking, and there are reports of injuries among the tanker's crew of 12 Filipinos and one Indonesian.

Up to 20 warships from the navies of at least 10 countries are involved in anti-piracy operations in the area, where pirates based in Somalia seized around 40 ships last year.

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