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Three ships hijacked by pirates off Somalia

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Three ships hijacked by pirates off Somalia

Post  Admin on Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:54 pm

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Three ships -- German, Iranian and Japanese -- were hijacked by pirates off the Somali coast Thursday in an unprecedented series of attacks, a maritime watchdog said.

The incidents brought to six the number of ships menaced in the Gulf of Aden in the past month, said Noel Choong, head of the Kuala Lumpur-based International Maritime Bureau's (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre.

A German-operated cargo ship, flying the flag of Antigua and Barbuda, was the last to be targeted, at 0945 GMT, while the Iranian and Japanese tankers were hijacked earlier in the day between 0200 GMT and 0300 GMT.

Choong said the attacks took place very near to each other, but he was not able to say whether the same group was responsible."Whether it's a different group of pirates, we can't tell until an investigation is carried out. We have sent out an urgent warning to all ships travelling through the Gulf of Aden," he told AFP."We want to pressure the United Nations and the international community to do something about it, to take steps to stop this menace," said Choong."Without UN intervention, we can't do anything because Somalia has no central government."

The waters off Somalia and Nigeria are the most pirate-infested in the world, with the IMB reporting 24 attacks in Somalia and 18 in Nigeria between April and June this year.

Of the 24 Somali attacks, 19 occurred in the Gulf of Aden off the country's north coast.

On Tuesday, a Malaysian-registered tanker laden with palm oil and heading from Indonesia to the Dutch port of Rotterdam was also seized by pirates.Last week, a Thai cargo ship was hijacked and a week before that, a Singapore-flagged vessel was attacked by pirates who fired a rocket-propelled grenade that landed on the ship but did not explode.On July 20, pirates seized the Stella Maris, a Japanese-owned bulk carrier, and demanded a ransom from the owners.


yahoo news.

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