An Italian-owned cargo ship, hijacked off the coast of Oman in April, has been freed, said authorities and the ship’s owner.
The MV Rosalia D’Amato was on its way to Iran from Brazil with a cargo of soya when it was seized by an armed pirate gang on April 21.
The Italian foreign ministry said the crew had been freed but had not yet been handed over to Italian authorities, Reuters reports.
“This is an operation which is still underway in a high risk zone which can only be considered to be closed once the crew has been taken into charge by the Italian military authorities,” it said in a statement.
An official from Perseveranza Navigazione, the Naples-based company which operates the ship, said the crew appeared to be well and the pirates had left the vessel.
“I have just spoken to the captain and we can rule out the presence on board of other individuals who are not members of the crew,” Carlo Miccio told Reuters.
After it was captured, the 74,500 tonne bulk carrier and its crew of six Italians and 15 Filipinos was sailed to the coast of Somalia, which has become a haven for pirates who ply the busy routes that link Europe with Africa and Asia.
Typically the pirates anchor vessels off their Somali land base until a ransom is paid, at which point the vessel along with its crew and cargo is released.