Ransom paid, Somali pirates release South Korean crewmen

South Korea's Foreign Ministry says Somali pirates have released four South Korean crewmen from 19 months of captivity after a ransom was paid.

The four were among 25 crew members whose palm oil tanker was hijacked by the pirates off the coast of Kenya in April 2011. The pirates released the oil tanker and 21 crew members later in 2011 but kept the four South Koreans as hostages.

The Foreign Ministry said Sunday the four South Koreans were set free a day earlier after the ship's Singapore-based operator paid a ransom.

The ministry refused to disclose how much money Glory Ship Management Pte. Ltd. paid.
 
Ministry officials said a South Korean navy ship is transporting the crewmen to a safe place from where they can fly back home.

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