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Somali pirates hijack Liberian owned ship off Oman

2010-04-21 16:55 BJT

NAIROBI, April 21 (Xinhua) -- Somali pirates have hijacked a Liberian-owned bulk carrier with 21 Filipino crew on board, the European Union Naval Force confirmed on Wednesday.

EU Naval Force spokesman John Harbour said the Panamanian- flagged Voc Daisy, with a dead weight of 47,183 tonnes, was hijacked on Wednesday in the Gulf of Aden, 190 nautical miles East South East of Salalah, Oman.

The spokesman said at the time of the attack, the ship, owned by Middleburg Properties Ltd. of Liberia and operated by the Greek company Samartzis Maritime Enterprises, was heading west from Ruwais, U.A.E, making for the eastern rendezvous point of the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), for onward transit through the Suez Canal. She was 280 miles from the IRTC when she was hijacked.

"The EU NAVFOR is monitoring the situation and can confirm that all the 21 Philippino crew," Harbour said.

He said the vessel was registered with Maritime Security Center Horn Of Africa (MSCHOA) and was able to raise the alarm before the four armed pirates, carrying three AK47s and one RPG, stormed onboard and cut their lines of communication.

Piracy has become rampant off the coast of Africa, especially in the waters near Somalia, which has been without an effective government since 1991.

Ransoms started out in the tens of thousands of dollars and have since climbed into the millions.

The Horn of Africa nation 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 hasn't had a functioning central administration since the 1991 ouster of former dictator Mohammed Siad Barre.

The Gulf of Aden, off the northern coast of Somalia, has the highest risk of piracy in the world. About 25,000 ships use the channel south of Yemen, between the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.


Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua