Somali pirates free 7 Pakistan crew; 15 still held

A negotiator says seven crew members of a Malaysian-owned ship held by Somali pirates since late 2010 are heading home to Pakistan under a partial ransom deal that still leaves 15 merchant seamen held.

Negotiator Ahem Chinky says Pakistani families and groups raised $1.1 million for the release of the crew members from the MV Albino. But that fell short of the $2.85 million sought by the pirates under a deal reached earlier this year by Dubai-based intermediaries.

The freed crew passed through Dubai en route to Pakistan on Thursday.

The remaining crew still held by pirates include seven Sri Lankans, six Bangladeshis, one Iranian and one Indian.

The Kenya-bound ship was hijacked in November 2010 in the Gulf of Aden.