Friday Nov 28, 201401:11 PM GMT
Somali pirates release Egyptian Blue Star
Thu Mar 5, 2009 2:25PM
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Somali pirates have released an Egyptian cargo ship with 28 crew members seized off the notorious Somali waters on New Year's Day.


The Blue Star was released following mediation efforts by Egyptian intelligence and foreign ministry officials, Egyptian MENA news agency reported. There was no mention of a possible ransom payment.

Last month, the ship's owner Abderrahman al-Awwa spoke of a deal with the pirates on how much would be paid. "We have reached an agreement for a million dollar ransom," AFP quoted him as saying.

The Egyptian-owned vessel was flying the flag of the Caribbean island territory of St Kitts and Nevis and was carrying 6,000 tons of fertilizer when attacked by some 15 heavily armed pirates, according to the Egyptian foreign ministry.

The Blue Star was the second Egyptian-owned ship seized by Somali pirates. Cairo says it did not pay any ransom for the release of the earlier hijacked vessel and its crew of 25.

The pirate-infested Somali waters remain dangerous despite the presence of foreign navies on patrol. The area is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, linking the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean and the oil and gas-rich Persian Gulf.

MRS/JG/AA
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