Somali pirates have freed the South Korean supertanker Samho Dream after a $9m ransom was paid by its owner Samho Shipping.

The ship, with a crew of five Koreans and 19 Filipinos, was released 217 days after it was seized by pirates in the Indian Ocean on 4 April.

The 319,360dwt vessel was carrying roughly $170m-worth of crude oil when it was hijacked on its way from Iraq to Louisiana in the US.

The tanker is being escorted to a safe location by the Korean naval ship Wang-gun and is expected to anchor at the port of Salalah in Oman, according to