EU: Pirates release ship and Syrian, Egyptian crew

AP News
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Posted: May 31, 2011 10:52 AM
EU: Pirates release ship and Syrian, Egyptian crew

The European Union Naval Force says Somali pirates have released a ship with 22 Syrians and three Egyptians onboard.

The MV Khaled Muhieddine K was seized Jan. 20 and released May 26. Tuesday's EU statement says the crew are doing well. No further details were given.

Somali pirates currently hold 22 vessels and nearly 500 crew members. The average time that ships are held has been steadily growing in recent years, as have the multimillion dollar ransoms that eventually free them. The average ransom is now close to $5 million.

Arid and impoverished, Somalia has not had a functioning government for more than 20 years, one reason piracy has flourished.