Somali Pirates Deny Arms Seizure
Somali Pirates Deny Arms Seizure

A Chinese ship with 25 crewmembers is said to be heading to a safe port after being released by Somali pirates late Sunday.

The European Union's anti-piracy force says the bulk carrier De Xin Hai and its crew members are in "good condition" after nearly 70 days in captivity.

The EU statement Monday said the ship was released off the port town of Hobyo and is now sailing toward a safe port, which it did not identify.

Neither the EU nor a separate statement from China's foreign ministry made mention of a reported $4 million ransom payment.  Pirates told journalists they had received the money, reportedly dropped from a helicopter.

China's statement says the ship was rescued, without giving any details. 

The foreign ministry says the ship is now under the protection of Chinese naval escorts.

Somali pirates have made tens of millions of dollars over the past two years hijacking ships for ransom.

The EU says the pirates are now holding a total of eight ships and 213 crewmembers hostage.

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