Somali pirates have freed four Thai nationals seized from a fishing vessel at sea in 2010, ending the longest-running hostage drama in the Horn of Africa state
, the United Nations said
At one time Somali pirates made millions of dollars in ransoms from seizing ships but increased patrols by international navies in the Indian Ocean have greatly reduced incidents of piracy since 2012.
"I am grateful to see the longest-held hostages released from Somalia, and thank all those involved who made it happen," said Nicholas Kay
, the U.N. Secretary General's Special Representative for Somalia.
It was not known whether any ransom was paid for the release.
Of the original 24 crew members of the FV Prantalay 12 who were taken hostage, six died from illness in captivity while 14 from Myanmar were freed in 2011.
The only other remaining hostages of Somali pirates are 26 crew members of the FV Naham 3 ship who were snatched in 2012.
Kay called for the release of the 26 without further delay.
(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Mark Heinrich)