Pirates hijacked the Greek-operated cargo ship MV Lugela off Somalia shortly after it transited through the Gulf of Aden, the European Union's anti-piracy taskforce and a maritime official said on Monday.
"She has been taken by pirates. She was expected off the Somali coast in the early hours of this morning," Andrew Mwangura, head of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme, told Reuters.
EU NAVFOR said the Panama-flagged vessel sent a distress alert to its Greek operator early on Saturday and had not been heard from since.
"The vessel was in the Somali basin, approximately 900 nautical miles east of Eyl, Somalia. A short while later, the vessel altered course to sail towards the Somali coast," EU NAVFOR said on its website.
The MV Lugela, which has a deadweight of 4,281 tonnes, had a crew of 12 Ukrainians on board and was sailing in the direction of Mauritius with a cargo of steel bars and wires, the taskforce said.
ReutersLast Mod: 27 Eylül 2010, 09:31