The two German cruising sailors captured by Somali Pirates are freed after 41 days in captivity

Two German cruising sailors freed by Somali Pirates after 41 days in captivity have now been airlifted to Kenya, a regional maritime official said Sunday.

News reports claim that on Friday (8 August) pirates freed two German sailors held in remote northern Somalia since June, according to a source close to the gang. “They have released the two Germans,” said an accomplice of the pirates, who gave his name as Yusuf. “They are well and we will be taking them to Bosasso.”

Local elders confirmed the pair had been freed after a ransom was paid. Yusuf, who was among a group that carried the cash to the kidnappers, said it was $1 million.

Andrew Mwangura, East African Coordinator of the Seafarers Assistance Program (SAP), said the 63-year-old Juergen Kantiner and the 51-year-old Sabine Merck, are expected to fly back to Germany early next week.

“The couple arrived in Nairobi on Sunday afternoon from Somalia en-route to Germany. The gunmen abandoned the Yacht Boat on the shores and disappeared into the mountains,” said Mwangura, who met the freed couple in Nairobi.

“The couple complained a lot that they were harassed. It was not clear if the full ransom had been paid to free the hostages from the pirates’ mountain stronghold, although initial reports indicate that some big money exchanged hands,” he said.