Somali Pirates Release 17 Filipinos From Hijacked Ship.
Pirates have released more than a dozen Filipino workers from a hijacked fishing vessel off the coast of Somalia.
In a statement, the Philippine Foreign Affiars Department said 17 Filipino crew members of the FV Win Far 161 were released on Thursday. The seafarers are in good condition and are preparing to be repatriated.
Before the release, the Win Far was the longest-held vessel with Filipino crew.
The Taiwanese-flagged ship was hijacked in April 2009 near Seychelles. It was a "mother ship" from which pirates conducted their attacks, including the hijacking of the U.S. cargo ship Maersk Alabama last year, according to the U.S. Navy.
Twenty-three Filipinos remain in captivity aboard three vessels off Somalia. Two are onboard the Thai Union 3, three on the MV St. James Park and 18 aboard the MV Navios Apollon.
Piracy off Somalia's coast and the Gulf of Aden has become an urgent worldwide concern, and the United States is leading an international task force to counter it. Apart from the Combined Task Force 151 composed of several navies, NATO has a battle group in the area.