Thai fishing vessel freed by Somali pirates

11:26, March 08, 2010      

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A Thai fishing vessel hijacked last October has been released by Somali pirates, according to agencies' reports on Sunday.

The Thai-flagged trawler was hijacked on October 29 in the Indian Ocean, more than 300 km north of the Seychelles. The reports said the vessel was released after a ransom was paid, but the exact amount was unclear.

No further details was available so far.

The release came two days after a Norwegian tanker carrying oil was hijacked by Somali pirates on Friday with 21 crew members on board off Madagascar.

Pirates seized the UBT Ocean chemical tanker registered in the Marshall Islands near the Indian Ocean island state of Madagascar. The crew members were reportedly from Myanmar.

Piracy has become rampant off the coast of Africa, especially in the waters near Somalia, which has been without an effective government since 1991.

Hijackings off East Africa are a cause of growing international concern, spurring a number of international navies to patrol the pirate-wracked Gulf of Aden.

Hundreds of other people remain hostage aboard hijacked ships in the Gulf of Aden and its surrounding seas. Somali pirates usually demand a huge sum of money in ransom for the release of hostages.

Source: Xinhua
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