Russian special forces have seized the oil tanker hijacked by Somali pirates nearly 350 nautical miles off the coast of Yemen in the Gulf of Aden.

Forces on board the Russian anti-submarine warship Marshal Shaposhnikov stormed the oil tanker and freed 23 sailors who had locked themselves in the Liberian-flagged ship’s radar room.

The pirates had disabled the 106,000dwt Moscow University, which was carrying 86,000t of crude oil worth $52m from the Red Sea to China.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the tanker would most likely continue on its planned voyage.