The AP has reported that Somali pirates have released an oil tanker that they hijacked a month ago on its way from the United Arab Emirates to South Africa
, a maritime official said Sunday.
The MT San Carlo is now on its way to South Africa, said Andrew Mwangura
, head of the Kenyan chapter of the Seafarers Assistance Program. It was not immediately clear whether a ransom was paid for the release of the Malta-registered vessel and its crew of 24, Mwangura said.
Several pirate groups operate along Somalia's 1,880-mile coastline, Africa's longest. The Horn of Africa nation has had no effective government since opposition leaders ousted a dictatorship in 1991 and then turned on each other, leaving the nation of 7 million a patchwork of warlord fiefdoms.
On Nov. 5, two boats of pirates attacked a luxury cruise liner carrying mostly American as well as Australian and European passengers. The Seabourn Spirit sped away and no passengers were injured, but one of the 161-person crew was wounded by shrapnel in the raid, which occurred about 100 miles off Somalia's coast.
The International Maritime Bureau, citing a sharp rise in piracy this year, has been warning ships to stay at least 150 miles away from Somalia