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Worldwide Financial Crisis Having Devastating Effects On Ransom Fees

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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Are the Somali pirates feeling the pinch?

A Somali pirate on a hijacked cargo ship transporting tanks reduced the ransom Tuesday to $8 million (euro5.87 million), but it was unclear if he was speaking officially for the bandits holding the Ukrainian vessel.

A man who identified himself as Jama Aden and spoke by satellite phone Tuesday is not the usual spokesman for the pirates. He answered the telephone of the spokesman, Sugule Ali, and said Ali was not immediately available.

"There are high hopes we will release the ship within hours if they pay us $8 million," Aden told The Associated Press. "The negotiations with the ship owners are going on well."

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