London/Nairobi: Somali pirates have released a German-operated cargo ship with 19 Indians, a regional maritime group said Tuesday as the European Union announced that another German-owned ship had been seized.
Andrew Mwangura of the East Africa Seafarers Assistance Programme said the Marida Marguerite and its crew of 19 Indians, two Bangladeshis and one Ukrainian was sailing into safe waters.
Khalif Dahir, the leader of the pirate group who seized the ship May 8, had said Monday that it had received a 5.5-million-dollar ransom by airdrop and was preparing to release the vessel.
On the same day, the German-owned EMS River was seized as it sailed to San Nicolas in Greece from Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates, the EU`s anti-piracy mission EU NAVFOR said Tuesday.
The ship is carrying petroleum and has a crew of seven Romanians and one Filipino, EU NAVFOR said.
EU NAVFOR`s latest figures say that 26 ships and 609 hostages are being held by Somali pirates, although it is not clear if these numbers reflect the release of the Marida Marguerite.