Somali pirates release Greek ship, 19 sailors

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The incident took place in the Gulf of Aden
Image: NOAA.

According to East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme Kenyan chapter head, Andrew Mwangura, the Greek freighter MV Captain Stephanos and all its 19 crew, consisting of 17 Filipinos, one Chinese and a Ukrainian, had been released late Monday, after 78 days in captivity. It was unclear, however, if any ransom was paid. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said that "there are [still] 91 Filipino seafarers on board six ships still with Somali pirates."

Somali pirates seized the Bahamas-flagged vessel on September 21 near the Horn of Africa, as the bulk carrier, was cruising in the Gulf of Aden en route and transporting coal to Europe. The captors locked the crew inside the vessel and they were not fed well. The vessel is now headed to Italy and will sail from there to Greece, to meet the ship owners.

Reuters reported that "a surge in attacks at sea this year in the busy Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean 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."

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