Pirates seize Malaysia palm oil tanker off Somalia

The ship was carrying about 32,000 tonnes of crude palm oil, worth $2.5 million at current prices.

Pirates seize Malaysia palm oil tanker off Somalia
A Malaysian oil tanker, with 39 crew on board and laden with palm oil, has been hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, its owner said on Wednesday, the latest in a wave of attacks in the region.

The tanker was heading towards Rotterdam from Dumai in the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and the crew include 29 Malaysians and 10 Filipinos, MISC Bhd said.

"MISC regrets to inform that its chemical/palm oil tanker, MT Bunga Melati Dua, has been hijacked by unknown pirates at 1409 GMT on Aug. 19," it said in a statement, adding that the incident took place in the Gulf of Aden between Somalia and Yemen.

Piracy is rife off Somalia, which has been mired in anarchy since warlords overthrew a dictator in 1991.

The ship was carrying about 32,000 tonnes of crude palm oil, worth $2.5 million at current prices.

MISC is the shipping arm of Malaysian state oil and gas firm Petronas [PETR.UL].

"This is the fourth ship being hijacked in a month in the waters," said Noel Chong, head of the International Maritime Bureau reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur.

"We call upon the U.N. to take immediate steps to tackle the worsening problem," he said.

He said that a warship had been despatched to intercept the tanker, believed to be heading towards Somalian waters.

Neither Chong nor MISC give any details on the identity of the warship.

Last week, pirates from Somalia hijacked two ships -- a Thai cargo ship, the MV Thor Star, and a Nigerian tug boat, the MT Yenegoa Ocean.

Somali pirates are still holding a Japanese-managed bulk vessel, the MV Stella Maris, that was hijacked on July 20.

In most cases, Somali pirates have treated captives with care in the hope of receiving substantial ransom payments.

Reuters
Last Mod: 20 Ağustos 2008, 18:47
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