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Somali pirates release mongolian-flagged ship in Oman

Somali pirates have released a Mongolian-flagged bulk carrier they seized off the coast of Oman in January after receiving a ransom, pirates and a maritime monitoring group said.

September 17, 2011 3:25 by

The 22,835-tonne Vietnamese-owned bulk carrier MV Hoang Son Sun was hijacked some 520 nautical miles southeast of the port of Muscat, with a crew of 24 Vietnamese nationals.

“Vietnamese-owned but Mongolia-flagged bulker MV Hoang Son Sun was released late Thursday after the Somali pirates had received a reduced ransom in the eight-month hostage case,” Ecoterra International said in a statement.

“The vessel is meanwhile in safe waters and reportedly on her way to Salalah harbour in the south of the Sultanate of Oman. The owner-manager, however, remained tight-lipped about the condition and fate of the crew.”
A pirate also confirmed the release.

“I don’t know how much ransom they received, but the ship has been released unexpectedly. We were told yesterday that it’s gone for hunting, but they were releasing it that time,” a pirate who gave his name as Awil told Reuters late on Friday night from El-Dhanane coastal village.

Pirates are raking in tens of millions of dollars in ransom from seizing merchant ships in the region, despite the efforts by foreign navies to clamp down on the attacks.

Attacks on oil tankers and other ships are costing the world economy billions of dollars a year and the navies have struggled to combat the menace, especially in the vast expanses of theIndian Ocean.

A senior European Union navy official said earlier this week pirate attacks were expected to increase in the next few weeks as the monsoon season ends. (By Mohamed Ahmed; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

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