Somali pirates who seized a Ukrainian ship and its military cargo in September have reportedly received a $3.2 million ransom ahead of the vessel's release.
A spokesman, Mikhail Voitenko, for the ship's owners was quoted by the Associated Press as saying a ransom had been paid and the pirates were counting and dividing up the money aboard the MV Faina in the Gulf of Aden. The spokesman did not confirm the amount or a time for the ship's release.
In November, negotiators said the owners had agreed to pay the pirates a ransom without providing further details.
The pirates originally asked for $35 million, before lowering their public demand to $3 million.
About 20 Ukrainian, Russian and Latvian crew members have been held on the ship.
Parents of the Ukrainian crew have complained that their sons are being held in "horrible" conditions.
Pirates captured the ship in September as it headed to Kenya with its cargo of Russian-made T-72 tanks, ammunition and other military hardware.
Kenya says it was the intended recipient of the cargo. But maritime officials and diplomats in the region said it was destined for the government of southern Sudan.