Rome: An Italian merchant ship hijacked by
Somali pirates in April in the Arabian Sea near Oman with six
Italians and 15 Filipinos on board has been freed, Italian
news media reported on Friday.
The 225-metre Rosalia D`Amato -- owned by Naples-based
shipper Perseveranza -- had been sailing from Brazil to Iran
with a cargo of soybeans and came under fire from its
attackers when it was taken on April 21.
La Repubblica daily reported that the ship was currently
on its way to "a safe area" and said that a ransom had been
paid. Pirates had initially demanded USD 22 million (16.6
million euros) to free the ship.
"The negotiations yielded a deal over the past few days.
Very few details are available on this operation and the
amount of the ransom is unknown," La Repubblica said.
"The vessel has probably turned on its engines and
sailing away from the spot where it was held. To guarantee its
full freedom, it needs to sail to a safe area first and be met
by one of the naval vessels patrolling the region," it added.
A representative of Perseveranza told AFP she could not
confirm or deny the reports but the Italian foreign ministry
effectively confirmed the vessel was no longer in pirate
"This is an ongoing operation in a high-risk area and it
will only be officially over when the Italian authorities take
charge of the crew," the ministry said.
The shipowner had said that no crew member was wounded
when the vessel was boarded in April.