Six Indian sailors, held captive by Somali pirates for more than 10 months, were freed Monday after a reported $2.1 million ransom payment.
The Indian men were among 22 crew members aboard the Panama-flag Suez, an Egyptian multipurpose cargo vessel captured by pirates on Aug. 2, 2010.
According to earlier reports, the 17,300-deadweight-ton ship with a cargo of cement bags was traveling eastbound through the Gulf of Aden toward the Suez Canal when the attack took place.
The Suez’s crew included 11 Egyptians, four Pakistanis and one Sri Lankan, who were also released.
The hostage crisis triggered vigorous public outcry, forcing the Indian administration to seek intervention with the Egyptian government after shipowner Red Sea Navigation initially refused to negotiate with pirates.
The release of the Indian hostages comes after African pirates reneged on a deal to free the entire 15-member Indian crew aboard the Asphalt Venture, a Panama-flag oil tanker, despite payment of the agreed ransom amount.