Somali pirates release UAE-owned ship

Somali pirates yesterday released a UAE-owned ship they captured a week ago, a regional maritime official said. The owners of the MV Victoria told the East Africa Seafarers' Assistance Programme the ship was now travelling with a handful of Somali soldiers on board to ensure its safe passage, said programme co-ordinator Andrew Mwangura.

Marwan Shipping and Trading Company, based in Sharjah, owns the MV Victoria, but the vessel flies a Jordanian flag.

He said he did not know under what terms the pirates released the ship. The MV Victoria will travel to the Somali capital, Mogadishu – its destination before it was hijacked on May 17 – to offload its cargo, Mwangura said.

There have been conflicting reports about whether the ship is carrying humanitarian aid or commercial cargo. The ship has about a dozen crew members from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Tanzania. Somalia, which is in a state of anarchy, does not have a coast guard or navy.