Pirates in Somalia have released a Greek cargo ship with its 19 crewmembers nearly three months after they hijacked it in the Gulf of Aden, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.
Foreign Undersecretary Esteban Conejos told reporters on Wednesday that the pirates had released the Greek-owned MV Captain Stefanos and its 19-man crew on Monday.
The ship was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden on 21 September, and it had 19 crewmembers, including 17 Filipinos, one Chinese and one Ukrainian, on board when it was hijacked.
Conejos said all the crewmembers were safe and added that the ship was currently on its way to Italy, and then to Greece. The department also said that Somali pirates are still holding 91 Filipino seamen, on board six international ships, hostage.
The Gulf of Aden has been affected by piracy in the recent months and more than thirty pirate attacks have been reported in the waters off Somalia since the beginning of 2008. Generally, the crew and the vessels are returned unharmed on receiving the demanded ransom.
The recent escalation in the number of pirate attacks off the Somali coast has forced various countries, including EU member states, NATO members, India and Russia, to deploy their naval vessels in the region to protect cargo and cruise ships against piracy.
by RTT Staff Writer
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