By Abdiqani Hassan
BOSASSO, Somalia | Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:50am EST
(Reuters) - A ship and its crew of 22 sailors held by Somali pirates for almost three years have been freed after a two-week-long siege by maritime police, the government of the breakaway region of Puntland said on Sunday.
The sailors aboard Panama-flagged MV Iceberg 1, from the Philippines, India, Yemen, Sudan, Ghana and Pakistan, were held for longer than any other hostages in the power of the pirates, who prey on shipping in the region, according to the president's office of the northern Somali enclave in a statement
Maritime police laid siege to the vessel on December 10 near the coastal village of Gara'ad in the region of Mudug.
"After 2 years and 9 months in captivity, the hostages have suffered signs of physical torture and illness. The hostages are now receiving nutrition and medical care," said the statement.