March 16 (UPI) — A tanker that was hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia was released without the hijackers claiming the ransom they demanded, officials said.
Somali security official Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan said the release came “without condition” hours after gunfire erupted between the pirates and Somali naval forces when a supply ship attempted to bring provisions to the pirates after a days-long standoff.
Four people were wounded in the encounter, the BBC reported.
The tanker was carrying oil and was flying under the United Arab Emirates flag, though reports about where the vessel originated had varied during the standoff. It was headed to port in the Somali capital Mogadishu.
The European Union anti-piracy naval force made contact with the ship’s captain on Wednesday and he confirmed the crew was being held hostage on board the ship, but no one had been killed.
The incident was the first in some time in a part of the world where pirate hijackings had been common as recently as 2011, the height of the Somali pirate activities.