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Somali Pirates Release Turkish Ship

Somali pirates have released a Turkish cargo ship and its 21 crew members more than four months after hijacking the vessel.

A spokeswoman for the ship's owner said the pirates abandoned the ship, the Frigia, early Thursday with the 19 Turkish and two Ukrainian crew members aboard.

The spokeswoman said the ship's release came through negotiations but would not say whether a ransom was paid. She said the crew members are in good health.

Pirates seized the ship, carrying a load of fertilizer from Israel to Thailand, on March 23 in the Indian Ocean.

The Frigia now is headed to meet the Turkish frigate Gelibolu, which patrols the Gulf of Aden.

The European Union and other world powers patrol the waters off Somalia in an effort to protect international shipping lanes. Despite this, Somali pirates have hijacked dozens of vessels in the past few years and taken in tens of millions of dollars in ransom.

After the release of the Frigia, Somali pirates are still holding at least 16 other ships with well over 200 crew members.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.