Piracy

NAIROBI, December 13, 2008 (AFP) – Somali pirates have released a Greek chemical tanker seized in October but three crew members are feared dead, a Kenyan maritime official said Saturday. Somali pirates are still holding at least 14 foreign vessels and more than 300 crew members to ransom, including an arms-laden Ukrainian cargo and a Saudi-owned super-tanker carrying two million barrels of crude oil.

“The MT Action was released by pirates,” Andrew Mwangura, who heads the Kenyan chapter of the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme, said in a statement.

“She is currently limping to safe waters. It is feared that three crew members lost their lives under questionable circumstances,” he added.

Mwangura did not specify if ransom had been paid or how the three crew members died.

The Panama-flagged vessel with 20 crew members was seized on October 10 in the Gulf of Aden.