Three fishermen hailing from Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari district who were abducted six months ago by pirates off the coast of Somalia have been released, reports reaching Chennai said on Monday.
Antony, Kingsley and Vijayan were kidnapped May 15 and were among 24 others from the fishing vessel Mopeto 97.
According to reports, the Somali pirates left two boats they had hijacked in the waters off the Horn of Africa, and their crew of 24 were under US Navy escort.
The South Korea foreign ministry was quoted as saying that 24 sailors onboard the two Korean-owned ships seized May 15 off Somalia were safe. The ministry said the ships were being escorted to a port in Yemen by a US Navy warship at the request of the South Korean government, the ministry said in a statement. The two dozen sailors comprised 10 Chinese, four South Koreans, three Vietnamese, three Indians and four Indonesians.
South Korean media reported that the Somali pirates were demanding between $700,000 and $1 million in ransom. However, there was no confirmation on the ransom demands.
Somalia lies close to crucial shipping routes connecting the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean, where valuable cargo and carriers must pass.