Aug 31, 2012 11:33 AM by Lauren Molenburg

Pirates free Greek tanker off west Africa

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece says pirates have freed a Greek-owned oil tanker seized off the coast of Togo in West Africa, and all 24 crew members are in good health.

The Merchant Marine Ministry said that the Energy Centurion was released Thursday afternoon, after being captured Tuesday by armed men who also managed to fend off a Togolese naval patrol boat summoned to help.

The tanker's management company said pirates had stolen an estimated 3,000 tons of gas oil from the vessel's total 57,000-ton cargo. A spokesman for Golden Energy Management said that the gunmen also took most of the crews' belongings.

The Isle of Man-flagged ship was heading for a safe harbor Friday.

Piracy attacks in West Africa have drastically increased in recent years.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)


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