Pirates who seized an Emirati-owned freighter travelling in the Gulf of Aden have released the ship after Somali traders confirmed they had chartered the vehicle. The ship Al-Meezan was freed without a ransom payment five days after it was captured. "The ship was released without conditions and no ransom was paid," said Ali Mahmoud Siad, head of a Mogadishu traders group. "They agreed to release it when they confirmed it was chartered by Somali traders." Somali traders often need to pay bonds before relief shipments are sent. Their ships, if captured, are therefore often freed shortly after capture. Pirates currently control about 20 ships and 250 hostages in the region, including the German freighter MV Victoria, crewed by 11 Romanians, which was captured on Tuesday. The Gulf of Aden is the main shipping route between Europe and Asia and is used by 20,000 ships a year.