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Somali Pirates Release Oil Tanker, Crew Without Ransom


Somali pirates on Thursday released a hijacked oil tanker and its eight-man Sri Lankan crew without any conditions or ransom payments.

The release followed a gunfight earlier in the day between the pirates and a marine force, and then intensive negotiations between the marine force, clan elders and the pirates.

Two people in the Somali town of Haabo were wounded as naval forces traded fire with men trying to ferry supplies to the tanker.

Witnesses told VOA's Somali service that the navy of Somalia's Puntland region intercepted a boat it thought was taking food to the gunmen holding the Aris 13 and its crew.

John Steed, regional manager of the watchdog group Oceans Without Piracy, told VOA, "They [the pirates] were given an offer they could not refuse — live or die. They were surrounded [with] nowhere to go, so pragmatism won in the end."