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David Guyatt
01-16-2009, 04:15 PM

Somali pirates release Danish ship
Friday, January 16 10:28 am

Somali pirates have released a ship hijacked in November with 13 crew on board in the Gulf of Aden after a ransom was paid, the ship's Danish operator said on Friday. Skip related content

The crew, most of whom are Russian, were unharmed and were on their way to Oman under the escort of a Russian warship, the Danish company Clipper Group said.

Clipper paid an undisclosed ransom that was parachuted to the pirates, Danish media reported.

The ship, CEC Future, is a general cargo vessel built in 1994 in Denmark and sailing under a Bahamian flag. It was hijacked on November 7.

Piracy is rife off Somalia, which has been mired in anarchy since warlords overthrew dictator Siad Barre in 1991.

The vital sea lane in the Arabian Sea between Yemen and Somalia links the Middle East Gulf and Asia to Europe and beyond via the Suez Canal and is critical to Gulf oil shipments.

The pirates released a Saudi tanker earlier this month after a $3 million (2 million pound) ransom was parachuted onto its deck.

(Reporting by Gelu Sulugiuc; editing by Michael Roddy)