***UPDATE*** The Associated Press retracted their story on this today, apparently things aren’t what they seem. We will keep you posted with any further updates.
Somali pirates have released the MV Iceberg 1, along with 23 hostages, after holding the vessel and its crew in captivity for 19 months, a Dubai-based news agency reported today. The vessel had been in captivity the longest out of any vessel held by Somali pirates.
The Panamanian-flagged ship was heading for Jebel Ali Port when it was hijacked by Somali pirates on March 29, 2010 off the coast of Somalia.
Pirates have been negotiating ransom with the Iceberg’s owners, the Dubai-based Azal Shipping, for over a year while subjecting the hostages to mental and physical abuse. The abuse, which reportedly included low food rations and isolation, was reportedly so bad that one of the Iceberg’s crew members committed suicide in October by jumping overboard.
It’s unclear how much ransom was paid for the release of the vessel and crew.
The Iceberg 1 is expected to dock at Salalah in Oman by the end of the week.