A Somali governor says no ransom was paid for the release of an Italian tug boat that pirates held for four months.

But Sanag Governor Mohamed Said Nur told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the pirates were paid $270,000 for food and other supplies used to sustain the 16-member crew of the Buccaneer since April. The vessel was anchored off the coast of Sanag.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has said no ransom was paid for the vessel's release on Sunday.

Somali pirates are normally reimbursed for any expenses they incur as well as receiving a ransom for holding a ship. It is rare for them to accept payment for their expenses only.

Somali pirates receive an estimated ransom of up to $2 million a vessel.