Somali pirates free tanker hijacked in April but kept four hostages
Somali piratesthreateningshipping routesin northeastAfricawhichleft atankerinto their custodyfor seven monthsand released21 of itscrew. The bandwas left withfourSouth Koreannationals, who held hostage.
The piratesdisembarkedtheir prisonersand nowhidingsomewhere in theSomali territory,becomevirtual "no man's land" by the continued internal conflictsaffectingthe African country.
Theship, theMTGemini,was based inSingaporeand was carrying28,000 tonnes ofpalm oilfrom Indonesiawhen he was interceptedoff the coastofIndonesiaon 16April.
The freed hostages, 13 Indonesians, five Chineseand three citizens ofMyanmar, were in good physical condition.
The Ministry ofForeign Affairs ofSouthKoreasaidit cooperatesclosely with theGloryShip Managementcompany, which owns the vessel,to obtain therelease ofthe fourremaininghostages, but reiterated that country'spolicyof not negotiating withpirates.
Inenereopast,South Korean militaryforcesconductedan operation againsthijackers whohad boardeda cargo vesselof that nationality.The troopskilled eightpirates andtookanother five toSeoul, where they were tried andgiven longsentences.