Somali pirates have freed a Maltese owned and registered bulk carrier after the payment of a ransom by its owners, said the European Union anti-piracy force.
EU Navfor said the 52,466-tonne vessel MV Sinin was released along with its crew of 22 — 12 Iranians and 10 Indians.
The ship was captured in February while sailing in the North Arabian sea on route to Singapore from Fujairah, in the United Arab Emirates, Reuters reports.
“The ship is now on its way to a safe port,” EU Navfor said in a statement, without saying how much the ship owners paid the pirates.
Hijackings off Somalia date back at least 20 years, but it is in the past few years that the business has mushroomed into a multi-million dollar international industry.
According to U.S. think-tank One Earth Foundation, the average ransom per ship in 2005 was $150,000. By 2010, it had jumped to an average of $5.4 million per ship, with large cargo vessels and oil tankers a popular prey for the seafaring gunmen.
Studies estimate the cost to the global economy from Somali piracy is about $7 billion to $12 billion a year.