29 December 2009

Somali Pirates back in action

Pirates still active and apparently refuse to take a Christams vacation.

Somali pirates seized a ship carrying fertilizer from the U.S. in the Indian Ocean and a British-flagged chemical tanker in the heavily patrolled Gulf of Aden — the first merchant vessel to be hijacked in the gulf in nearly six months, officials said Tuesday.
The hijackings late Monday showed that pirates are relentless in their pursuit of quick money from ransoms and that ship owners need to take extra precaution when sailing in the Horn of Africa, said Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The waters off Somalia are teeming with pirates, who have hijacked dozens of ships for multimillion-dollar ransoms in the past two years. An international naval force now patrols the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.
After the latest hijackings, pirates now hold 12 vessels and 263 crew members, Choong said. Pirates anchor their captured crafts near Somalia's shore in the pirate strongholds of Haradhere and Hobyo. International forces can't rescue the vessels without risking the lives of the crew, leaving negotiated ransoms as the only safe means of resolution.

By: Brant

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