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Somali pirates release 18 sailors

13 January 2012, 17:26

Istanbul - The leaders of Georgia and Turkey have welcomed 15 Georgian and three Turkish sailors who were released more than a year after their Greek-owned ship was captured by Somali pirates.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan greeted the 18 sailors at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport on Friday. They were released on Sunday.

The crew were taking the ship Olib from Egypt to India when it was captured by pirates on September 08 2010. The ship, which was sailing under a Maltese flag, was to be scrapped in India.

The leaders said Georgia and Turkey were involved in "joint efforts" and diplomatic negotiations that secured the sailors' release.

It was not clear if any ransom was paid.


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