Somali pirates release Greek-owned ship

10:07, April 25, 2011      

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Somali pirates have released a Greek-owned ship with 24 crew members after seizing the vessel in January, a regional maritime official confirmed on Sunday. Andrew Mwangura, Maritime Editor for the Somalia Report said the Cypriot-flagged which was hijacked on Jan. 17 in the Gulf of Aden, about 490 nautical miles southwest of Oman was freed on Saturday. "The MV Eagle was released by the Somali pirates on Saturday." Mwangura told Xinhua by telephone from Mombasa. The vessel has deadweight of 52,163 tonnes and a crew of 24 Filipinos and was on passage from Aqabar (Jordon) to Paradip (India) when it was attacked.

The pirates have intensified their action in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden and most of hijackings end without casualties when a ransom has been paid, but often after several months of negotiations.

The Gulf of Aden, a body of water between Somalia and Yemen, is the main sea route between Europe and Asia. Tankers carrying Middle East oil through the Suez Canal must pass first through the Gulf of Aden. Pirate gangs operating along Somalia's 1,900-mile-long (3,100- kilometer) coastline have become increasingly audacious over the past two years, hijacking dozens of merchant ships and their crews. So far the fledgling government has not dared go after the pirate strongholds, since pirate leaders have more power than the beleaguered Somali government.

Source: Xinhua
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