Owner: Hijackers release tanker seized in Ivory Coast after taking 5,000 tons of fuel

The Nigeria-based owner of a fuel-laden tanker that was seized in Ivory Coast says hijackers have released the vessel.

Chairman Rowaye Jubril of Brila Energy, a petroleum distributor that owns the Panamanian-flagged ship ITRI, announced its release Tuesday in an email to The Associated Press.

Jubril said the pirates stole cargo of 5,000 tons of jet fuel, worth an estimated $5 million, while the 16 crew members were locked in the ship's dining room. He did not provide further details.

Ivory Coast officials said the vessel was seized on Jan. 16 as it was preparing to deposit its cargo at the port of Abidjan.

It was not immediately clear where the tanker was released, but Ivory Coast's government said it was located off the coast of West African neighbor Ghana.