Somali Pirates Free Egyptian Ship
Somali pirates freed an Egyptian cargo ship and its crew of 28 after holding the vessel for more than two months, an Egyptian ambassador said Thursday.
Ambassador to Somalia Saeed Morsy said the ship was released Wednesday, but did not say if any ransom was paid.
The Blue Star was carrying 6,000 tons of fertilizer when 15 armed pirates seized it Jan. 1 as it passed through the Red Sea and entered the Gulf of Aden.
Al-Badeel, an Egyptian daily newspaper, quoted Abdel-Hameed Ibrahim, father of one of the crew, as saying a ransom was dropped from a plane. It said the ship was en route to Kenya for refueling and will return to Egypt’s Mediterranean port of Alexandria in three days.
The report could not immediately be confirmed.
The lawless Somali coastline is plagued by pirates, who attacked over 100 ships last year. The capture of a Ukrainian vessel loaded with arms focused international attention on the problem and countries including India, the U.S., China and France sent warships to patrol the Gulf of Aden, which is one of the world’s most important shipping lanes.
The naval presence is having some effect; the pirates’ success rate at taking over a vessel has fallen from nearly 50% to around 30%. But attacks on commercial shipping have continued despite the patrols and some arrests.
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