COLOMBO, March 17 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan government on Friday confirmed that eight local crew members aboard an oil tanker allegedly hijacked by Somali pirates had been released safely without a ransom.
Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha De Silva told a media conference in capital Colombo that the crew had been released on Friday morning and he thanked all countries who had helped coordinate the safe release of the crew.
"We thank the U.S. government and the President of Puntland, the semi autonomous region of Somalia in whose waters the hijacking took place," De Silva said.
The Minister also thanked the U.S. Ambassador in Sri Lanka Atul Keshap for taking up the matter with Washington, the EU, the Combined Maritime Force and the Sri Lanka Navy.
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