NAIROBI, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Somali pirates have released a Turkish owned ship with 21 crew members onboard after four months in captivity, EU naval force confirmed on Thursday.
Naval Force spokesman John Harbour said the Malta-flagged MV Frigia which was seized on March 23 this year in the pirate- infested waters of Somalia was freed early Thursday. "The MV Frigia, a Maltese flagged cargo ship with deadweight of 35,000 tonnes was hijacked approximately 1,000 nautical miles east of the northern Somali coastline," Harbour said.
The vessel had been carrying fertilizer from Israel to Thailand when it was hijacked in March. The crew includes a Turkish captain, 19 Turkish and two Ukrainian sailors.
Regional maritime sources said the crew are in good condition and the ship was expected to meet shortly with the Turkish frigate Gelibolu, serving as part of an international task force to prevent piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
The Horn of Africa nation's coastline is considered one of the world's most dangerous stretches of water because of piracy.
Somalia is at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden, which leads to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, one of the world's most important shipping channels.
The country has been plagued by factional fighting between warlords and has not had a functioning central administration since the 1991 ouster of former leader Mohammed Siad Barre.