Pirates seize Ukrainian ship with 21 on board

September 26th, 2008 - 3:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Nairobi/Kiev, Sep 26 (RIA Novosti) Pirates off the Somali coast seized a Ukrainian ship en route to Kenya with 21 people on board, Ukraine’s foreign ministry has said citing reports from maritime rescue officials in Greece. There are three Russians, 17 Ukrainians and one Latvian on board the Ukrainian-owned Faina ship flying the Belize flag, the ministry said late Thursday.

The vessel’s owner Tomax Team said the vessel’s captain contacted the company to say three boats with armed men on board had approached the ship, after which contact was lost.

Earlier reports said the Ukrainian vessel was carrying military equipment, possibly about 30 T-72 tanks.

The foreign ministry said information on the cargo was being verified, adding that Ukraine’s embassies in Britain and Kenya had been instructed to check reports on the seizure.

Pirates are active in the waters off Somalia, which has no effective government and no navy to police its coastline.

The International Maritime Bureau said in the current year till date more than 30 piracy attacks have been committed off the coast of the East African nation.

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