A Beluga Shipping vessel and crew feared hijacked by pirates in the Somali Basin on Sunday are free, the German owner has confirmed.

Personnel from a Royal Navy warship have swept through the 12,744-dwt Beluga Fortune (built 2008) and no pirates have been found onboard.

All 16 crew members have escaped unharmed after riding out the pirate boarding incident in a secure onboard compartment or ‘citadel’.