Somali pirates release Greek chemical tanker

Pirates have released a Greek-owned chemical tanker which was hijacked in September and the crew is safe, Greece’s Merchant Marine Ministry said today.

Pirates have released a Greek-owned chemical tanker which was hijacked in September and the crew is safe, Greece’s Merchant Marine Ministry said today.

Spokesman Constantine Gialelis said the MV Genius was on its way to the United Arab Emirates and was about 500 miles off Somalia.

Gialelis said the ship was released Friday and that “its cargo is intact and the crew are safe”.

Somali pirates seized the vessel in late September in the Gulf of Aden near the Horn of Africa. Gialelis says the crew of 19 comprised Georgian, Sri Lankan and Syrian citizens.

Gialelis said the ship’s owners will not provide any information, including whether any ransom was paid, citing safety reasons.

In the past two weeks, Somalia's increasingly brazen pirates have seized eight vessels, including a huge Saudi supertanker loaded with £60m (€71m) worth of crude oil.

Several hundred crew are now in the hands of Somali pirates. The pirates dock the hijacked ships near the eastern and southern Somali coast and negotiate for ransom.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991. When an umbrella Islamic group, which included the al-Shabab, controlled most of southern Somalia for six months in 2006, there were few reports of piracy.

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