Ship freed after standoff with pirates

2010-09-09 10:14

Nairobi - German container ship Magellan Star was freed on Thursday after a standoff between Somali pirates and international naval forces, the ship's owner said.

No further details on how the release of the vessel was secured were immediately available.

Nick Davis, of the UK-based Merchant Maritime Warfare Centre, said half-a-dozen pirates boarded the boat on Wednesday and the 11 crew members locked themselves into a safe room.

"The vessel was then surrounded by the military yesterday afternoon," he told the German Press Agency.

Davis said as of early Thursday morning the ship was drifting just north of a transit corridor protected by international warships in the pirate-infested waters off Somalia as naval forces tried to convince the pirates to leave peacefully.

The US-led Combined Maritime Forces were believed to be at the centre of the naval response. Attempts to contact the CMF proved unsuccessful.

The European Union's anti-piracy force off Somalia, EU NAVFOR, said it had no information on the hijacking.

EU NAVFOR would only confirm that the Malta-flagged MV OLIB G, with a crew of 15 Georgians and three Turks, was seized by Somali pirates on the same day.

Piracy is rife off the Horn of Africa nation, which has been without an effective central government since 1991.