Danish family freed by Somali pirates

A Danish family of five has finally been freed by Somali pirates who had been holding them captive since February. According to a BBC report, a ransom of USD three million (EUR 2.1m) was paid for their release.

Jan Quist Johansen, his wife and their three children, aged between 12 and 16, were taken hostage along with two crew members on 24th February while they attempted to sail around the world in their yacht.

The family’s boat was taken just two days after four Americans were shot dead on another hijacked vessel when the US military attempted to rescue them. Troops from Puntland, a semi-autonomous region in Somalia, also died trying to save the Johansens in March.

The Danish foreign ministry said the family, who were apparently aware of the risk of piracy on their voyage, were in relatively good health and due to arrive back in their home country this week. “The foreign ministry confirms that the Danish sailors from the sailing ship ING – the two parents, their three children and two crew members – held hostage by Somali pirates since the 24 February 2011, have now been released,” the ministry said in a statement.

According to the BBC, piracy around the Horn of Africa has slowed in recent weeks due to the heavy rains brought on by the monsoon season. There are, however, at least 30 vessels currently being held by pirates in the area.