Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Saturday, 22 November 2008

Greek ship released by pirates


Pirates in Somalia have released a Greek-owned ship that was hijacked two months ago.

Greek officials say the tanker's cargo of refined oil is intact and its 19 crew members are safe.

The owners of the MV Genius declined to say whether a ransom had been paid to the pirates.

In the past two weeks Somali pirates have seized eight vessels, including a huge Saudi tanker carrying $100m (67m) worth of crude oil.

This high profile case has outraged the maritime industry and the international community have called for joint action against piracy.

Dangerous waters

"The pirates released the ship today and it is now sailing to freedom," said Andrew Mwangura, the head of the East African Seafarers Association.

The Greek Merchant Marine Ministry says the 6,765 tonne vessel was on its way to the United Arab Emirates and is about 500m (800km) off the coast of Somalia.

Somali pirates seized the tanker on 26 September in the Gulf of Aden near the Horn of Africa, waters that are highly dangerous for shipping.

The MV Genius was hijacked on the same day as MV Favina, a Ukrainian ship that was carrying a cargo of tanks and weapons, and it is still being held by pirates.

Pirates based in war-torn Somalia regularly attack vessels plying major commercial shipping routes nearby.

This year here have been 95 attempts at capturing ships by pirates in the Gulf of Aden, 39 of which have been successful, according to maritime organisations.

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