Page last updated at 22:57 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010

Somalia pirates release Greek cargo ship

An armed Somali pirate on the coast of Somalia near the town of Hobyo, with the MV Filitsa anchored in the background - photo taken 7 January 2010
The Filitsa was kept anchored off the Somali pirate lair of Hobyo

Pirates in Somalia have released the Greek-owned cargo ship Filitsa and its crew of 22 after a ransom was paid, Greek officials said.

The crew of three Greek officers and 19 Filipino sailors are reported to be in good condition.

The vessel was seized off the Seychelles on 11 November as it carried chemicals to South Africa.

The ransom was paid earlier on Monday but the ship's owner, Order Shipping, refused to say how much was paid.

A Greek coast guard statement said the Filitsa was heading for the Kenyan port of Mombasa, Associated Press reported.

The waters around Somalia are among the most dangerous in the world, despite patrols from the naval forces of the US, Nato, the European Union and China.

In recent months, pirates have begun to take ships further out to sea from the coast of Somalia.

The war-torn country has had no functioning government since 1991, allowing pirates to operate along the lawless coast, almost with impunity.

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South Africa MercuryCargo ship freed after ransom is paid to pirates - 4 hrs ago
People's Daily Online Somali pirates release Greek cargo vessel - 8 hrs ago
Times Online The future of defence part two: The Royal Navy - 11 hrs ago
Bangkok Post EU anti-piracy force welcomes China interest - 15 hrs ago
BusinessWeek Somali Pirates Widen Attacks to Indian Ocean, EU Admiral Says - 18 hrs ago
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