$3m payment frees family, including three children

A Danish family have been released by Somalian pirates after a reported $3million (£1.9million) ransom was airdropped.

Jan Quist and Birgit Johansen and their three teenage children, Rune, Hjalte and Naja, were captured from their yacht alongside two Danish crew members in February 600 miles off the Somalian coast.

In March one of the pirates offered to release the family if they allowed him to marry 13-year-old Naja.

But yesterday a Danish official confirmed that all seven were on a flight back to Denmark.

Lene Espersen, the Danish Foreign Minister, denied that her government had paid the ransom, adding that the family had been dealing with the pirates via ‘professional negotiators’.

The maritime monitoring group Ecoterra said that a ransom was dropped to secure their release, believed to have been funded by family and friends.

$80million (£50million) has now been paid to pirates in the last year alone.

However, 346 people are still held captive by Somalian pirates, including a South African couple who were snatched from their yacht, Choizil.

Subscribe to Yachting Monthly magazine for all the latest sailing news and reviews.