Belgian ship freed by pirates, Brussels says (Roundup)
Jun 28, 2009, 12:03 GMT
Brussels - Pirates have freed the Belgian ship and its 10- man crew, over two months after the ship was seized in the Indian Ocean, a spokesman for Belgian Prime Minister Herman van Rompuy said in Brussels said Sunday.
The crew of the Pompei were in good health, according to the government's crisis centre.
The Belgian government immediately despatched 10 soldiers to the region to board the ship and provide protection for the freed vessel.
This move was prompted by apparent differences between Belgium and the European Union's 'Atalanta' naval mission in the region to assure further protection for the ship.
Jaak Raes, the head of the Belgian crisis team dealing with the hijacking, said the last of the pirates had left the ship on Sunday morning. The shipe was now on its way to a 'safe haven,' he said, without identifying it.
Later, the ship was to be escorted by a Greek frigate participating in EU naval mission.
Belgian radio meanwhile reported that a ransom was paid. But authorities declined to provide details.
Somali pirates seized vessel and its Dutch captain and crew of two Belgians, four Croatians and three Filipinos on April 18.
The Pompei had been en route to the Seychelles. In the hands of the pirates, it sailed toward Somalia.