DUBAI // A UAE-owned tanker, the Royal Grace, with 20 hostages on board has been released by Somali pirates, the EU Naval Force has confirmed today.
The empty chemical tanker was hijacked on March 2 in the Gulf of Oman while on its way to Nigeria. The pirates had demanded US$1.7million (Dh6.2m) to free the crew of Indians, Nigerians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.
The ship was spotted on Friday morning by the EU NAVFOR flagship Mendez Nunez that was conducting counter-piracy patrols 20 nautical miles off the northern Somali coast. The Royal Grace was sailing north at a speed of four knots when sighted by the counter-piracy vessel.
The master of the Royal Grace then radioed the EU NAVFOR vessel, confirmed the ship was free of pirates and that his 20-man crew required food, water and medical aid. “I am relieved that the crew of MV Royal Grace are now safe and on their way home,” said Rear Admiral Bob Tarrant, the operation commander of the EU Naval Force.
“It has been an extremely worrying time for the men and their families. ”The ship is currently on its way to the port of Salalah in Oman and it being escorted by another EU NAVFOR vessel the Rayo.
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