Egypt investigating reports about hijacked ship off Somalia

Other News Materials 4 September 2008 22:27 (UTC +04:00)

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry is investigating reports that pirates hijacked an Egyptian ship off the coast of Somalia, an official said on Thursday, reported dpa.

"I called the Egyptian ambassador to Kenya, Saher Hamza, so that he would follow the reports and" learn more details, said Ahmed Rezq, the ministry official in charge of consular affairs and expatriates.

Rezq said Hamza told him the vessel was seized in the Eyl area of the semi-autonomous northern region of Puntland.

On Wednesday, reports said pirates seized a French sailing boat off the Somali coast and are holding their two occupants hostage in Eyl.

Somalia has been in a state of anarchy since the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

Piracy off Somalia's lawless coast has surged in the last three months.

Two Germans seized on a yacht were released recently apparently after a ransom was paid. In April, French commandoes stormed a luxury yacht and arrested six pirates after freeing their hostages.