The Straits Times
Published on Dec 01, 2012

Somali pirates free S. Korea sailors 'for ransom'


SEOUL (AFP) - Four South Korean sailors held hostage by Somali pirates for nearly 19 months were freed on Saturday, Seoul's foreign ministry said after a ransom was reportedly paid for their release.

"The four Korean crew members of the MT Gemini have been released," the ministry said in a statement, adding the sailors were being taken to safety aboard a South Korean navy ship.

The release followed an agreement between Singapore firm Glory Ship Management which owns the MT Gemini and the pirates, it said without elaboration.

But Yonhap quoted an unidentified foreign ministry official as saying that the ministry had assisted in ransom talks between the boat's owner and the pirates, but declined to say how much had been paid for their release.