| MADRID, Spain - The Spanish government said Saturday that 26 fishing crew members hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia have been released along with their ship after negotiations.|
Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said the crew and the trawler Playa de Bakio were sailing back home. She would not say whether a ransom had been paid.
"The fishing boat Bakio has been liberated and is now sailing in total freedom, escorted by a Spanish frigate toward safer waters," De la Vega told a news conference.
Reuters reports that a local Somali officials said the pirates were given $1.2 million.
"We have been informed by our intelligence services that the pirates were given $1.2 million, which was brought in a small boat," Abdisalam Khalif Ahmed, chairman of Haradhere port local authority in central Somalia, told Reuters.
"We also understand that the pirates arrived at El-Hud village, where they hired cars that took them away," he said.
...Pirates firing rocket-propelled grenades boarded skipper Amadeo Alvarez Gomez's boat and captured the crew of 13 Spaniards and 13 men from African countries.
De la Vega said the crew was in good health.
"The 26 crew are in perfect condition and we are communicating this to the boat's owners and the families," she said.
De la Vega said the release had been achieved through negotiation in London between the Spanish government, the ship owners and representatives of the hijackers.
She added no details but said the release had been achieved thanks to "cooperation and diplomacy."
Its good to be diplomacy? I also believe the use of the term liberated in this context is highly stretched to its credibility limit.