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European-owned tankers seized off Somali coast

Latest update : 2009-03-26

Pirates have seized two European-owned tankers off the Somali coast, according to the EU's anti-piracy naval mission, amid a new surge in piracy in the dangerous waters off the Horn of Africa.

AFP - Two European-owned tankers have been hijacked off the Somali coast and other vessels in the area have been alerted to a pick-up in pirate activity, the EU's anti-piracy naval mission said Thursday.

The Maritime Security Centre run by the EU naval force said that the 9,000-tonne Greek-owned, Panamanian-flagged M.V. Nipayia was seized on Wednesday with its crew of 19.

The incident was followed early on Thursday with the capture of the 23,000-tonne Norwegian-owned and Bahamian-registered M.V. Bow-Asir with an unspecified number of crew.

Ransom-hunting Somali pirates attacked more than 130 merchant ships in the region last year, an increase of more than 200 percent on 2007, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

The number and success rate of pirate attacks has declined slightly since the start of the year, due to unfavourable seas and increased foreign naval presence in the Gulf of Aden.

Date created : 2009-03-26