The chemical tanker St James Park with five Bulgarians on board was freed by the Somali pirates on May 14 2010, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The UK-flagged tanker, which was loaded with liquid chemicals, was hijacked on December 29, with five Bulgarian sailors on board, two Romanians, two Ukrainians, three Russians, three Turks and three Filipinos, a Pole and a Georgian national. All hostages are said to be alive and well.
According to Bulgarian media reports, citing Vessela Cherneva from the Foreign Ministry, the "ransom for the ship was paid". For the moment there is no exact information on what the paid sum was but earlier the pirates had evaluated the tanker at three million dollars because it only carried chemicals.
Allegedly, the other UK-flagged ship Asian Glory, which was targeted on January 1 2010 with eight Bulgarians on board, was priced at 15-million. She ferried 2305 Korean-made cars from Singapore bound for Saudi Arabia, and the ransom included the "insurance of the ship and the value of the cargo".
The Bulgarian crew on board St James Park is expected to be substituted in the next few days as soon as the ship reaches a convenient port, and the sailors are expected to be flown to Bulgaria, Prodan Radanov, manager of the Bulgarian branch of the UK firm Zodiac, said.