Somali pirates released the MSC Panama container ship this week after reportedly receiving a $7 million ransom for the vessel, according to published reports.
The 1,743-TEU ship and its 23 crew members had been held captive since the vessel was seized Dec. 10, 2010.
Reuters reported the ransom was dropped onto the ship by a small plane on Tuesday and pirates allowed the vessel to sail away.
The Liberian-flagged ship was seized by five heavily armed pirates in the Indian Ocean south of Tanzania, on its way to Mozambique. The attack was relatively far to the south of the region where most attacks have occurred in the past two years, evidence of the expanding reach of the piracy that has troubled trade near the East Coast of Africa.
The vessel has been under long-term contract to Mediterranean Shipping under the management of U.S.-based Ship Management Services.