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Somali Pirates Release 4 Thai Fishermen After Nearly 5 Years

  • VOA News

Four Thai fishermen held hostage by Somali pirates for nearly five years have been released.

The United Nations envoy to Somalia, Nicholas Kay, confirmed and welcomed the hostages' release on Friday. They were held longer than anyone taken hostage by Somali pirates, having been captured in April of 2010.

The U.N. says Somali pirates are still holding another 26 hostages, all from the FV Naham 3, an Oman-flagged ship hijacked in the Indian Ocean in March 2012.

According to the U.N., the four Thais were released Wednesday into the hands of officials in Somalia's Galmudug region.

It says the four were the last of 24 crew members working on their Taiwanese fishing vessel when it was seized by pirates and converted to a mother ship for pirate operations.

The ship later capsized and the hostages were brought ashore. Of the 24, six died of illness and 14 others were released to maritime authorities in May 2011.

Piracy off the coast of Somalia has declined since a high in 2011, when pirates hijacked 28 vessels.

After international naval patrols were put in place and shipping companies began employing armed guards, piracy incidents dropped sharply, with no hijackings recorded last year.