Somali Pirates Release Kidnapped Crew of Belgian Ship

Somali pirates have released the entire crew of a Belgian ship kidnapped two months ago, Belgium's government said Sunday.

The 10-member crew of the Pompei dredger were in good health, the government said. It did not say whether a ransom had been paid. The government will provide more details at a news conference to be held shortly.

The ship and its crew of two Belgians, a Dutch, three Filipinos and four Croatians were seized April 18 a few hundred miles north of the Seychelles islands as they were sailing to South Africa.

Despite international navy patrols, piracy has exploded in the Gulf of Aden and around Somalia's 1,900-mile coastline. Pirates are able to operate freely because Somalia has had no effective central government in nearly 20 years.

Seasonal monsoons have hampered pirate activity recently and the relative lull is expected to continue until at least the end of August, when the rough weather subsides, according to the London-based International Maritime Bureau.