MOGADISHU - Somali pirates holding an American hostage on a drifting lifeboat want $2 million for his release, a fellow pirate onshore said on Friday.

The pirate, speaking to Reuters from Haradheere port, also said other pirates were taking a hijacked German ship, with foreign crew on board, toward the scene in the Indian Ocean where the lifeboat is floating, watched by U.S. warships.

Knowing that the Americans will not destroy this German ship and its foreign crew, they (the approaching pirates) hope they can meet their friends on the lifeboat, said the pirate, who has given reliable information in the past but asked for his name not to be used.

Our friends (on the lifeboat) hope for $2 million ransom as well as their own safety, he added.

The 20,000-tonne German container vessel, Hansa Stavanger, was hijacked a week ago, about 400 miles off south Somalia, between Kenya and the Seychelles. It is thought to have 24 crew, of whom five are German.