New Delhi, Feb 6: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday informed on Twitter that the Merchant Ship Marine Express with 22 Indian nationals on board was released. The oil tanker that had gone missing off the coast of Benin in north-west Africa, was released by pirates after four days.

“I am happy to inform that Merchant Ship Marine Express with 22 Indian nationals on board has been released. We thanks Governments of Nigeria and Benin for their help and support,” Sushma Swaraj tweeted today.

Director General of Shipping Malini Shankar told PTI that all 22 crew members were safe and that the ship has resumed further sailing.

The Marine Express was at the anchorage Cotonou in the Gulf of Guinea in Benin when it was taken over by pirates on February 1. All the communication systems on the vessel were switched off by pirates before making it sail.

DGS officials were in contact with the Indian mission in Nigeria, which was coordinating rescue efforts with local agencies. The ship had gone missing less than a month after another vessel, ‘MT Barret’, disappeared off the coast of Benin in January, and was later confirmed to have been hijacked.