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Somali pirates release Greek oil tanker
Sun, 10 Apr 2011 02:37:07 GMT
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The Greek-owned crude oil tanker Irene SL
Somali pirates have released a Greek-owned crude oil tanker they had hijacked two months ago off the coast of Oman in the Indian Ocean.

The pirates freed the 319,000-dwt Irene SL vessel early on Saturday after they received a ransom payment of $14 million, a Press TV correspondent reported.

The vessel had a crew of 17 Filipinos, seven Greeks, and a Georgian national.

The Irene SL was transporting a cargo of crude oil on February 9 when it was seized by pirates 200 nautical miles off the coast of Oman.

Rampant piracy off the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia has made these waters among the most dangerous in the world.

The Gulf of Aden, which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea, is the quickest route for more than 20,000 vessels traveling annually between Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

However, attacks by heavily armed Somali pirates on speedboats have prompted some of the world's largest shipping firms to switch routes from the Suez Canal and reroute cargo vessels around southern Africa, leading to climbing shipping costs.

Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, Somalia has been embroiled in a bitter civil war for two decades. The country does not have a functioning government and the authority of the so-called Transitional Federal Government is limited mostly to the area around Mogadishu.

MP/AGB/HGL
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