MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somali pirates said on Saturday they had received a record ransom of $9.5 million for the release of Samho Dream, a South Korean oil supertanker they hijacked in the Indian Ocean in early April this year. The Samho Dream, which can carry more than 2 million barrels of crude oil, was hijacked and its crew of five South Koreans and 19 Filipinos taken hostage, while carrying as much as $170m worth of crude oil from Iraq to the US. We are now counting our cash and soon we shall get down from the ship, a pirate who gave his name as Hussein told Reuters. Andrew Mwangura, coordinator of the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme, said the ransom would be the highest ever paid out to the pirates since they started hijacking vessels in the past several years. They initially demanded $20 million. What I can confirm is that negotiators tell me they agreed to make the drop with an amount in excess of $9 million. This would be the highest sum paid out to pirates so far, Mwangura, who is based in the Kenyan Indian Ocean port of Mombasa, told Reuters. What we know from negotiators is that the pirates are on board counting and verifying the cash, and then in a matter of hours the ship is supposed to be released. Somali pirates are making tens of millions of dollars in ransoms from seizing ships, including tankers and dry bulkers, in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, despite the efforts of foreign navies to clamp down on such attacks. We received an amount of $9.5 million early in the morning, now we are dividing the ransom and will abandon the ship (soon), another pirate who gave his name as Ali said. The hijacked vessels are usually taken to the Somali coast where they are held until money is paid, although negotiations can take months.