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Somali pirates leave tug; 16 freed

August 11, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Sixteen sailors, including 10 Italians, whose tugboat was seized by Somali pirates four months ago are free after the pirates abandoned the ship, Italian authorities said.

Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told SkyTg24 television news that Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke notified him of the release in a phone call Sunday evening.

"There was a very strong political intervention" between the Somali government and local authorities "who made the pirates understand that the only solution was the liberation of the hostages," Frattini said.

The Foreign Ministry said no ransom was paid for the crew of the Italian-flagged Buccaneer tug, which was seized April 11 in the Gulf of Aden.

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