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Somaliland forces aid release of Yemeni-flagged ship

Brussels: Somaliland forces have helped in releasing a Yemeni-flagged container ship held by Somali pirates for nearly three weeks, writes Xinhua quoting the Yemeni Interior Ministry. The vessel, named Al-Mahmoud, carrying 15 crew members on board, was freed from Somali pirates on Friday with the help of the Somaliland naval forces, said the Interior Ministry in a statement posted on its website.

"The Al-Mahmoud ship left Aden port on Dec. 18 and was hijacked during its sail through the Arqabah area in Gulf of Aden," the Yemeni coastguard said. The ministry provided no details about the casualties, but said the ship is expected to arrive in the city harbor of Al-Mukalla in Hadramout Province in south Yemen on Sunday.

Despite international warships patrolling the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, piracy is still rampant in one of the world's most important and busiest shipping lanes. According to statistics released by the Yemeni coastguard, 41 cargo vessels along with 521 sailors of different nationalities were seized by hijackers in 2009.  [11/01/10]

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