CAIRO, (Reuters) – Somali pirates have released an Egyptian ship and its 25 crew members after holding them hostage for about three weeks, Egypt’s state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA) said on Saturday.
The release was the result of 20 days of negotiations between the pirates and Egyptian intelligence, the agency said.
The ship was now in international waters on its way to Egypt, MENA said.
The agency said on Sept. 8 that the pirates were demanding a ransom to release the ship and the crew. It did not say on Saturday whether Egypt yielded to such demands.
Somali gunmen had hijacked the boat as it plied the increasingly dangerous Gulf of Aden between Somalia and Yemen.
The ship was among the latest taken in a series of such hijackings in a major global sea route used by nearly 20,000 vessels a year heading to and from the Suez Canal.
Egypt is facing another hostage situation after masked kidnappers snatched 11 Western tourists and eight Egyptians at a remote border area and whisked them into Sudan more than a week ago.