The biggest boat ever captured also commanded the highest ransom. Earlier this month, Somali pirates said they had received $9.5 million in exchange for the release of South Korean supertanker Samho Dream, which was seized in April while it was transporting up to $170 million worth of oil from Iraq to the United States.
"They initially demanded $20 million," Andrew Mwangura, coordinator of the East African Seafarers Assistance Program, told Reuters. "What I can confirm is that negotiators tell me they agreed to make the drop with an amount in excess of $9 million. This would be the highest sum paid out to pirates so far."
The second-biggest boat ever seized, the Sirius Star, was released in January 2009 for a ransom of $3 million – a relative bargain, considering the ship was worth $150 million and the cargo was worth $100 million. Days later, five of the Somali pirates drowned in a storm with their share of the ransom, the BBC reported.
"The uncle of the pirate who washed ashore, Abukar Sheikh Hassan, told the BBC that the family had found $153,000 in a plastic bag in his pocket. He said some of the money was wet and the family was now trying to dry it out."