Pirates release Iran-bound vessel
Somali pirates have received a ransom of $2.5 million and released a Bermudan-flagged vessel which was seized on March 23 en route to Iran from Egypt.
The vessel named MV Talca was carrying 5,000 tons of orange to Iran when it was hijacked, Press TV reported.
Andrew Mwangura, head of the East Africa Seafarers' Assistance Program, said he believed the ship's crew of 23 Sri Lankans, one Filipino and one Syrian were safe.
Meanwhile, an Iranian official told Fars news agency that the ship was released last week.
However, Reuters quoted a pirate as saying that the vessel and its crewmembers were released last night after a ransom of $2.5 million was paid.
It was not immediately clear where MV Talca, which has a dead weight of 11,055 tons, was heading following its release.
The Gulf of Aden and water routes off the coast of Somalia remain the hotbed of mounting attacks on passing ships by Somali pirates despite the presence of about 35 international warships patrolling the lawless waters.
Pirates currently hold at least 19 vessels and more than 300 people hostage.