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Somalia pirates release German cargo ship

Hamburg: Somali pirates have released a German-owned cargo ship they seized in the Gulf of Aden in May, Xinhua writes quoting a regional maritime official in Nairobi. Andrew Mwangura, the East Africa's Coordinator of Seafarers Assistance Program (SAP), said the MV Victoria and its 11 Romanian crew members were freed early on Saturday. "The pirates released MV Victoria and 11 Romanian crew members today morning. All the crew members are all safe," Mwangura told Xinhua by telephone.

 The Antigua and Barbuda-flagged cargo ship was seized on May 5 with 10,000 metric tons of rice and was bound for Jeddah. Maritime officials said the vessel was seized in the Gulf of Aden in an area 120 km south of Yemen.

The vessel, which is managed by a company in Germany, had been registered with the European Union anti-piracy flotilla operating in the region and was navigating in the recommended East-West corridor of the Gulf at the time of the hijacking.

Somali pirates have over the past year hijacked dozens of ships and over 250 hostages, taken millions of dollars in ransom payment.

Another German vessel Hansa Stavanger, which was hijacked in April with 24 seamen, is still under the control of pirates. The vessel was seized in the Gulf of Aden, which is shared by Yemen and Somalia and connects the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.  [20/07/09]

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