Monday, April 23, 2012
ROME (Reuters) - Pirates who hijacked the Italian chemical tanker Enrico Ievoli off the coast of Oman late last year have released the 16,631 tonne vessel and its crew, Italy's Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
The ship, owned by Naples-based Marnavi with a crew of six Italians, five Ukrainians and seven Indians, was seized in the Arabian Sea on Dec. 27, while it was transporting a cargo of caustic soda from the United Arab Emirates.
Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said the release of the crew was the result of "tenacity, determination and top-level professionalism".
He made no mention of any ransom payment to the pirates and no comment was immediately available from Marnavi.
According to a Foreign Ministry statement, the families of the six Italian crew members had been informed of their release. An official at the ministry could not say whether the vessel or the crew had been finally handed over into official custody.
Piracy in the Arabian Sea and off the east coast of Africa has become a scourge for international shippers, with gangs of Somali pirates in fast motorboats seizing ships and extracting millions of dollars in ransom payments.