Somali pirates free Turkish ship

11:10, 03 February 2009

its crew of eight Ukrainians...

Somali pirates have freed Turkish-owned cargo MV Bosphorus Prodigy and its crew of 11 after holding it for seven weeks, a non-governmental organisation said Tuesday, acording to AFP.

The cargo ship and its crew of eight Ukrainians and three Turks were freed late Monday, according to Ecoterra International, an environmentalist organisation which had been closely monitoring Somali piracy.

"The crew of 11 is said to be well," Ecoterra said in its newsletter.

The Bosphorus Prodigy was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden on December 15 and had been held off the coast of the northern semi-autonomous state of Puntland.

The ship is sailing under an Antigua and Barbuda flag of convenience and belongs to the Istanbul-based Iskomarine Shipping and Trading company, which did not provide any immediate confirmation of the release.

Somali pirates are still holding 14 foreign vessels and close to 250 seamen in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden.

Among them is the MV Faina, a Ukrainian cargo loaded with battle tanks and ammunition, which has been hijacked since September 2008. Food supplies are believed to be low and talks over a ransom in limbo.

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