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Somali pirates release Panama-flagged ship with 20 Filipinos

03-01-2011 14:49 BJT

NAIROBI, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Somali pirates have released a Panama-flagged ship with 20 crew members, all Filipinos, the European Union anti-piracy force confirmed on Monday.

The EU Naval Force spokesman Paddy O'Kennedy said the MV Izumi which was seized by pirates on Oct. 10, 2010 was released on Friday.

"The Panama-flagged vessel and her Filipino crew of 20 are believed to be making for a safe port," O'Kennedy said in a statement. The MV Izumi has deadweight 20,170 tonnes. "There is no information on the condition of the vessel or the crew," O'Kennedy said.

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 hasn't had a functioning central administration since the 1991 ouster of former dictator Mohammed Siad Barre.

International military officials have vowed to fight Somali pirates who have moved into the waters off the coast of East Africa, as attacks begin to decrease. Crews have been successfully repelling more attacks, making it harder for pirates to capture ships and earn multi-million-dollar ransoms. But the pirates have responded more violently. Many ship owners are investing in physical defenses like stringing razor wire and adding fire hoses that can hit attackers with streams of high-pressure water.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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