The Greek owner of a ship held by pirates for more than six months in the Indian Ocean denied media reports on Monday that the vessel had been released after a deal was struck.
The Ariana cargo ship, with a crew of 24 Ukrainian sailors, was seized by pirates 250 miles southwest of the Seychelles on May 2. Reuters reported earlier on Thursday, citing a pirates' associate, that the ship had been freed.
"I do not confirm this information. We did not make any deals with pirates," the head of the Alloseans Shipping company, Spiros Minas, said.
"The pirates have made such statements before. At the moment, I do not confirm it," he said.
The pirates, who initially demanded $10 million, said in late October they had agreed a $3.5-million ransom and were ready to release the ship in 48 hours.
The press service of Ukraine's foreign ministry said they were verifying the report.
Ariana was hijacked en route to the Middle East from Brazil and was escorted to the Somali port of Hobyo. The vessel was carrying 35,000 metric tons of soya.
ATHENS/KIEV/MOSCOW, November 26 (RIA Novosti)