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Syrian-owned vessel and 22 crew members released from pirate control

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Syrian-owned vessel and 22 crew members released from pirate control

2011-05-31 23:58:00 GMT+7 (ICT)

GULF OF ADEN (BNO NEWS) -- The European Union Naval Force - Somalia (EUNAVFOR) informed on Tuesday that pirates released a Syrian-owned vessel which had been held under pirate control for 126 days.

EU Naval Force spokesman Paddy O'Kennedy said the bulk carrier vessel MV Khaled Muhieddine K was pirated on January 20, about 330 nautical miles (611 kilometers) south east of the Omani coastal port of Salalah.

The Togo flagged was released on the morning of May 26. The vessel was on route to Hudaydah, Yemen from Singapore when it was attacked with small arms and subsequently boarded by pirates.

O'Kennedy did not disclose the condition of the mixed crew of 25 individuals. The crew members consisted in 3 Egyptians and 22 Syrians. It was not disclosed if a ransom was paid to the pirates.

Somali pirates are currently holding at least 22 vessels with an estimated 493 hostages and an unknown number of unconfirmed dhows and smaller vessels, according to EUNAVFOR. The piracy monitoring group Ecoterra, however, says pirates are holding at least 46 vessels and 725 hostages.

In recent years, pirates (mostly from Somalia) have hijacked hundreds of ships, taking in hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom. Ships are patrolling the shipping lanes near Somalia in an effort to reduce hijackings, but the anti-piracy force has warned that attacks are likely to continue.

Most hijackings usually end without casualties when a ransom has been paid. This, however, often takes many months. According to a recent study, maritime piracy cost the global economy up to $12 billion last year, with Somalia-based pirates responsible for 95 percent of the costs.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-05-31

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