Somali pirates hijack UK tanker, release Singapore container

Somali pirates hijacked a UK-flagged chemical tanker in the Gulf of Aden on the same day they released a Singapore-flagged container.

Somali pirates hijack UK tanker, release Singapore container

Somali pirates hijacked a UK-flagged chemical tanker in the Gulf of Aden on the same day they released a Singapore-flagged container, pirates and maritime officials said on Tuesday.

Pirates told Reuters they had received a ransom for the Singaporean vessel Kota Wajar and freed the ship with its crew on Monday. The release was confirmed by the European Union naval force (EU Navfor) patrolling waters off Somalia.

"We have received $4 million and released the ship and its 21 crew late yesterday," pirate Mohamed told Reuters.

"The crew were happy and clapping when our friends got down from the ship."

The 24,637-tonne Kota Wajar was seized on Oct. 15 north of the Seychelles archipelago as it was sailing to the Kenyan port of Mombasa from Singapore. EU Navfor said the Canadian warship HMCS Fredericton was now providing medical and logistical help.

Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based East Africa Seafarers' Association said on Tuesday pirates had seized the UK-flagged chemical tanker St James Park a day earlier and the ship had changed course for the Somali coast.

Somali pirates told Reuters late on Monday they had hijacked another vessel but did not give details.

The patrols have reduced the number of hijackings in the Gulf of Aden this year and pirates have instead seized vessels far into the Indian Ocean to maintain the lucrative business.

Mwangura said the St James Park and its 26 crew were sailing to Thailand from Spain with a chemical used to make plastics when it sent a distress signal from the Gulf of Aden.

According to Ecoterra International, a group that monitors shipping off Somalia, at least 10 foreign vessels and 228 seafarers were being held close to the Horn of Africa nation prior to the latest seizure.


Reuters

Last Mod: 29 Aralık 2009, 11:33
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