Somali pirates release Yemeni ship
Somali pirates have released a Yemeni ship and its 15 crew members after holding them in captivity since January, a regional maritime official confirmed on Sunday, Xinhua reported.
Andrew Mwangura, East Africa Coordinator of Seafarers Assistance Program, (SAP) said the MT Sea Princess II and her crew of 15 sailors, including eight Indian and two Yemeni sailors, were freed early Sunday.
"The Yemeni ship was released early Sunday with all its crew members. I have not established whether any ransom was paid to secure their release," Mwangura told Xinhua by telephone.
The tanker was seized on January 2 and carrying petroleum products. The freighter flying the Saint-Vincent flag belongs to three Yemeni and Somali businessmen.
It was seized by pirates on January 3 when it was on its way with 2,000 tons of fuel on board to the Yemeni island of Socotra.
The release came one day after the Somali pirates hijacked a German ship overnight with 17 crew members on board. The Patriot was seized in the Gulf of Aden between Somalia and Yemen, Mwangura said, without disclosing the nationalities of the crew.
Somali pirates have attacked more than 80 vessels this year, still holding at least 16 ships and more than 270 crew members.
After a brief lull apparently balking at the increasing presence of foreign warships against piracy, they made a comeback recently extending their attacks to a much larger area in the Indian Ocean, as far as off the Seychelles islands.
For almost two decades, Somalia has been in anarchy since its government was toppled in 1991, with its people living in chaos and poverty.
A transitional government established in 2000 has been too weak to combat piracy stemming on the war-torn soil.