Somali pirates free Irene SL tanker: Greek coast guard

ATHENS Fri Apr 8, 2011 9:04am EDT

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ATHENS (Reuters) - Somali pirates have freed a Greek-owned oil tanker captured two months ago off the Oman, the Greek coastguard said in a statement on Friday.

"Somali pirates have freed the tanker 'Irene SL' which had been captured on Feb 9 while sailing with crude oil 200 nautical miles off the coast of Oman," the statement said.

"According to the owner, the crew of 25, of whom seven are Greeks, are well and the ship continues on its voyage to Durban, South Africa," it added.

It did say whether a ransom was paid. The Irene SL was one of three oil tankers captured by pirates this year.

The U.S.-bound vessel was carrying about 2 million barrels of Kuwaiti crude, worth $200 million at market prices when it was seized.

The Greek-owned and flagged 319,000-dwt tanker carried seven Greeks, 17 Filipinos and one Georgian on board.

The tanker's Greece-based manager, Enesel, said the ship was released on Thursday. It declined to say if a ransom was paid or give any detail on the operation for security reasons.

(Reporting by Ingrid Melander and Lefteris Papadimas, editing by Paul Taylor)

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