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Pirates release Thai ship after payment

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Coast off Somalia has become a hotbed of piracy in the past several years
  • Thai Union 3 was held at the Somali port of Heradeere, a hub of pirate activity
RELATED TOPICS
  • Pirates
  • Somalia
  • Thailand

(CNN) -- Pirates released a Thai-flagged fishing vessel Sunday after a ransom was paid, a European Union anti-piracy force said. It did not say how much money was handed over.

The Thai Union 3 had been held since October 29, when it was seized about 200 miles north of the Seychelles islands and 650 miles from the Somali coast.

It was held at the Somali port a Heradeere, a hub of pirate activity.

EU NAVFOR, the task force, did not say how many crew were aboard the fishing vessel or what their condition was. The ship is not registered with ITF Seafarers, so the labor union also had no information about the crew.

The coast off lawless Somalia has become a hotbed of piracy in the past several years. At least three ships have been attacked in the region this year, according to the International Maritime Bureau, a non-profit group that tracks and fights maritime crime and malpractice.

The pirates normally seek payment to release the ships.

The EU mission's main tasks are to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid for the World Food Programme, to protect vulnerable ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and to deter and disrupt piracy.