Pirates free Yemeni cargo ship, no ransom paid
Somali pirates have freed a Yemeni cargo ship they seized last week after successful negotiations between regional authorities, local clan elders and the gunmen, a local official said Wednesday.
A surge in attacks at sea this year in the busy Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean shipping lanes off Somalia has pushed up insurance costs, brought the gangs tens of millions of dollars in ransoms, and prompted foreign warships to rush to the area, reported Reuters.
"The Yemeni ship was released last night after long discussions," Ali Abdi Aware, state minister of Somalia's northern province of Puntland, told Reuters. "It left Eyl and is heading to Yemen. The crew are safe and no ransom was paid."
The MV Amani, owned by Yemeni shipping firm Abu Talal, has seven sailors on board. It was seized on November 25 as it carried 507 tonnes of steel from Yemen's Mukalla port to Socotra Island.
Hijackings have continued despite the presence of several foreign warships in the area. The sea gangs are holding about a dozen ships, with nearly 300 crew members hostage.