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Somali Pirates Release Ship Hijacked Nearly Year Ago

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The European Union's anti-piracy force says Somali pirates have freed a cargo ship captured nearly a year ago — but that the crew had to abandon the vessel a short time later because it was sinking.

The EU force says authorities received a distress call Wednesday from the Rak Afrikana , a few hours after it was released from pirate control.

It says the crew warned that the ship was taking on large amounts of water due to hole in the hull.

A statement says EU and Italian warships immediately came to the ship's aid and rescued the 25 crew members. It says the sailors were in satisfactory condition, considering they were captive for 332 days.

It was not immediately clear what caused the damage to the ship, or whether the Rak Afrikana is still afloat.

Somali pirates have hijacked dozens of ships in recent years and taken in hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom money. The EU anti-piracy task force says pirates are holding more than 30 vessels and nearly 700 hostages.

Article by VOA News