Families plead for Somali pirates to release ship's crew

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MOGADISHU, Somalia — Families of the eight Sri Lankan crew members held captive by Somali pirates on an oil tanker tearfully pleaded Wednesday for the men to be released unharmed, while the pirates demanded a ransom.

The hijacking on Monday was the first such seizure of a large commercial vessel off Somalia since 2012. It came as a surprise to the global shipping industry as international patrols had suppressed pirate hijackings for several years.

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