Somali pirates hijack Yemeni cargo ship

November 25th, 2008 - 2:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Nairobi, Nov 25 (Xinhua) Somali pirates have hijacked a Yemeni cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden, a maritime official said Tuesday. Andrew Mwangura, the East Africa coordinator of the Seafarers Assistance Programme (SAP), however, did not say when the MV Amani was captured and or the number of men on board the vessel at the time of the hijacking.

“A Yemeni cargo ship MV Amani has been hijacked by sea pirates in the Gulf of Aden,” Mwangura told reporters without further details.

The Gulf of Aden which connects the Indian Ocean with the Mediterranean and the Pacific oceans through the Suez Canal to be one of the busiest maritime trade routes, has seen an alarming rise in piracy, mostly by Somali insurgents who have been encouraged by the absence of an effective government in the country.

The hijacked ships included a Saudi Arabian supertanker loaded with crude oil worth some $100 million.

The tanker, the Sirius Star, belongs to Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Vela International and was carrying two million barrels of oil. It was hijacked Nov 15, about 833 km off the coast of Somalia, along with 25 crew members from Britain, Poland, Croatia and Saudi Arabia.

An Indian Navy ship last week sank a pirate vessel in the area. New Delhi has expressed its readiness to send naval vessels to protect commercial ships passing the Gulf of Aden from pirates.

All the Indian crew members of the MT Stolt Valor, hijacked by Somali pirates two months ago, returned to Delhi early Tuesday. The 18 Indians were part of the 22-member crew of the vessel which was hijacked off the coast of Yemen Nov 16.

There are currently 15 warships in the region, including four NATO vessels, and ships from India, Malaysia and Russia.

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