, NAIROBI, May 11 – Somali pirates have freed a Greek-owned ship seized in March, but it was unclear whether a ransom was paid, a maritime official told AFP Monday.
The MV Nipayia was freed late Saturday, said Andrew Mwangura of the East Africa Seafarers Assistance Programme.
The Panama-flagged ship was hijacked on March 25 off the lawless Somali coast with a crew of 18 Filipinos and one Russian while on its way from Madagascar to the Persian Gulf, Mwangura said. The crew was safe, he said.
At least 18 vessels are still in the hands of the pirates after the latest release.
Pirates attacked over 130 merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden in 2008.
Attacks increased tenfold in the first three months of 2009 compared to the same period last year.