Somali pirates have released four Thai sailors who were held hostage for nearly five years, the longest period of captivity of hostages held by Somali pirates, a UN official said Friday. The four released on Wednesday were sailors of the MV Prantalay 12 vessel, a Taiwanese flagged fishing vessel seized by Somali pirates
on April 18 2010, said the UN Special Representative for Somalia Nicholas Kay. The ship was used by the pirates as a base before it eventually capsized in July 2011 and the remaining crew members were taken ashore, said Kay. Six members of the original crew of 24 succumbed to illness and 14 crew members from Myanmar were released to the Puntland Maritime Police authorities and repatriated in May 2011, Kay said in a statement.