Page last updated at 19:53 GMT, Monday, 28 December 2009

Somali pirates free Singapore-flagged ship

The Kota Wajar off the Somali coast on 18 November 2009
The Kota Wajar had been held off the Somali coast

Somali pirates have released a Singapore-flagged container ship that had been held for nearly 10 weeks, an EU naval force in the area says.

It said the Kota Wajar, which had 21 crew members, was freed off the Somali pirate stronghold of Haradere.

The force provided no details about the release, but said a Canadian warship was providing it with medical and logistical assistance.

Earlier, China said it had rescued 25 crew kidnapped by Somali pirates.

Beijing made no mention of a ransom payment, despite reports that $4m (£2.5m) was delivered to pirates on Sunday.

The Kota Wajar was seized on 15 October 300 nautical miles north of Seychelles while it was sailing to the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

Also on Monday, Yemen's defence ministry announced that a Yemeni cargo vessel with at least 15 people on board had been seized by Somali pirates.

It said the ship, the Al Mahmoud 2, had set off from Aden on 18 December.

The waters around Somalia are among the most dangerous in the world.

A recent surge in piracy has been blamed on the failure to find a solution to Somalia's political disputes.

Somalia has been without a functioning central government since 1991, and Islamists militants have taken control of most of the country.

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