Somali pirates free Dutch vessel, crew member dead


Somali pirates have freed a Dutch freighter with a Ukrainian crew, nearly two months after the vessel was captured in the Gulf of Aden, Ukrainian authorities say.

The Dutch government says one crew member has been shot dead by the pirates and another has been wounded. Dutch Marines are providing medical assistance and escorting the ship back to neutral waters, the Dutch Foreign Ministry adds.

“According to the Ukrainian embassy in the Netherlands, Somali pirates on June 23 released the Marathon vessel with eight Ukrainian citizens,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.

Reuters says it is not clear how or why the ship was freed earlier today. A spokesman for the Dutch Foreign Ministry said force was not used but could not comment on whether a ransom was paid.

The Dutch owner-operator of the vessel, Cargadoor Amons & Co, declined to comment on the release of the ship or any ransom.

The Ukrainian embassy in The Hague was not available for comment.

The 2 575-tonne Marathon was westbound through the Gulf of Aden when it was seized May 7. Owned and flagged in the Netherlands, the ship was carrying coke fuel when it was taken.