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Somali pirates seize Bermuda-flagged ship

2010-03-24 15:58 BJT

NAIROBI, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Somali pirates have hijacked a Bermuda-flagged cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden with 25 crew members on board, a regional maritime official confirmed on Wednesday.

Andrew Mwangura, the East Africa coordinator of Seafarers Assistance Program (SAP), said the Virgin Islands-owned cargo ship MV Talca has 23 Sri Lankans, one Filipino and one Syrian.

"The 479,800 cbm reefer Talca was hijacked in Gulf of Aden on Tuesday afternoon. It's a cargo vessel, Bermuda flagged and managed in Britain," Mwangura told Xinhua by telephone from Mombasa.

The ship was en route to Bushier, Iran, from Sokhna, Egypt. It has a dead weight of 11,055 tonnes.

"The hijacking took place about 120 nautical miles off the coast of Oman and 180 miles south of Mazera," the Kenyan maritime official said. The vessel had already passed through the International Recommended Transit Corridor, which is patrolled by warships and maritime patrol aircraft from EU NAVFOR, NATO, the Combined Maritime Forces and other navies. The seizure came hours after the pirates hijacked a Turkish owned ship with 21 crew members on board. The Malta-flagged MV Frigia was seized early Tuesday in the pirate-infested waters of Somalia.

The Horn of Africa nation's coastline is considered one of the world's most dangerous stretches because of piracy.

Somalia is at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden, which leads to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, one of the world's most important shipping channels.

The country has been plagued by factional fighting between warlords and has been without a functioning central administration since the 1991 ouster of former dictator Mohammed Siad Barre.


Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua