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Kiev confirms release of Ukrainian crew held by Somali pirates


KIEV, February 3 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's Foreign Ministry confirmed on Tuesday that eight Ukrainian crewmembers on board a Turkish-owned ship, captured in the Gulf of Aden on December 16, have been released.

The Antigua-flagged Bosphorus Prodigy, a cargo vessel built in 1985, with eight Ukrainian and three Turkish nationals on board, was captured by Somali pirates.

"According to statements made by representatives of the Isko Marine Shipping [Company], the vessel is currently on route to the nearest port," the ministry said.

Pirates have been increasingly active in the waters off East Africa, where over 120 ships were attacked last year, with around 40 vessels, including 600 crew members, seized. Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991.

Up to 20 warships from the navies of at least 10 countries, including Russia, are involved in anti-piracy operations in the area.

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