Somali pirates free German-owned ship

09:22, March 04, 2011      

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Somali pirates have released a German-owned ship which was seized in December last year with eight crew members onboard, European Union anti-piracy mission said late Thursday.

EU Naval Force Somalia spokesman Paddy O'Kennedy said the MV EMS River which was hijacked on December 27, 2010 was released from pirate control on Tuesday.

"The Antigua/Barbuda flagged and German owned vessel was on her way to San Nicolas, Greece from Jebel Ali in the UAE at the time of the attack," he said.

According to the owner of the vessel, all crew members are well and unharmed.

The 5,200 tonne general cargo ship has a crew of eight - one Russian and seven Philipinos - and is carrying a cargo of petroleum coke.

Somalia is at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden, which leads to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, one of the world's most important shipping channels.

The country has been plagued by factional fighting between warlords and has not had a functioning central administration since the 1991 ouster of former leader Mohammed Siad Barre.

International military officials have vowed to fight Somali pirates who have moved into the waters off the coast of East Africa, as attacks begin to decrease.

Crews have been successfully repelling more attacks, making it harder for pirates to capture ships and earn multi-million-dollar ransoms. But the pirates have responded more violently.

Many ship owners are investing in physical defenses like stringing razor wire and adding fire hoses that can hit attackers with streams of high-pressure water.

Source: Xinhua

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