NAIROBI (Kenya): Somali pirates have hijacked a Malaysian-flagged ship with 23 crew members on board in the Indian Ocean the European Union’s anti-piracy task force said.
It said yesterday that the Kenya-bound MV Albedo (click on the ship name to view the ships' particulars) was seized about 900 nautical miles east of Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu.
The ship originated from the United Arab Emirates’ port town of Jebel Ali.
The anti-piracy force said the Malaysian-owned ship was seized on Friday and the crew hailed from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Iran.
Somalia has not had an effective government for 19 years, allowing piracy to flourish off its coast turning it into a perfect refuge for criminal gangs.
Piracy has long been a problem in the Indian Ocean off Somalia.
Both AFP and AP had reported that pirates now hold 22 vessels and 521 hostages.
On Aug 19, 2008, the Bunga Melati Dua, with 29 Malaysians and 10 Filipinos on board, was hijacked at 10.09pm.
The ships were released by Somali pirates after a ransom was paid.
Media reports claimed the MISC had paid US$2mil (RM6.9mil) for the release of each vessel.
Following these incidents, an international conference on piracy was organised by the Malaysian Government asking the United Nations to coordinate maritime force operations to suppress piracy off the coast of Somalia.
Government officials, and representatives of naval and shipping bodies who gathered for a two-day meeting organised by Wisma Putra, felt that successful mechanisms established by the littoral states of the Straits of Malacca must be adopted.
source : (The Star Online) Tuesday November 30, 2010
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