DUBAI, July 28, 2011 (AFP) – A petrol tanker belonging to the United Arab Emirates hijacked by Somali pirates on July 16 has been released, state news agency WAM reported Thursday. Last month, the UN Security Council warned that Somali pirates were attacking growing numbers of ships in the Indian Ocean and that the attacks were becoming more violent and extreme.

There were 266 cases of piracy at sea in the first six months of 2011, compared to 196 the previous year. Sixty percent of these involve Somali pirates, who at the end of June were holding 20 ships and 420 hostages. The MV Jubba 20, a laden tanker, was released on Wednesday “without any ransom payment or giving any concessions,” WAM said.

The EU’s anti-piracy body announced on July 18 that the tanker was pirated in the northern Indian Ocean, on her regular route from the UAE to the port of Berbera in the breakaway state of Somaliland.

Seventeen sailors from Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Sudan, Myanmar, Kenya and Somalia were on board the tanker, according to WAM.

The MV Jubba 20 was seized while “carrying 3,500 tonnes of oil products.”