Crew of hijacked oil tanker released unharmed

Twenty-three man group had been held captive in Gulf of Guinea since September 14

A Spanish oil tanker that was hijacked by pirates 60 miles off the coast of Togo on September 14 has been returned to the control of the crew, the operating company, Consultores de Navegación, and the Foreign Ministry confirmed on Sunday.

The 23-man crew of the Mattheos I, five of whom are Spanish, were unharmed during the attack except for a blow to the head sustained by one of its number when the pirates boarded.

The injury to the crew member was light, said Sheena Campbell, a spokeswoman for Consultores de Navegación.

"They lied to us constantly," the ship's captain told EL PAÍS via telephone. "They kept saying they were going to leave but they didn't. I thought it was going to go on for longer."

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The captain thanked the media for its concern but asked for discretion as the Mattheos I is still being guided toward a safe port. He added that the pirates treated their captives "better" than he had expected.

Consultores de Navegación confirmed that no ransom had been sought for the crew.

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