Somali pirates seize Algerian flagged ship with 27 crew
Somali pirates have hijacked Algerian flagged and owned ship in the Indian Ocean with 27 crew members, European Union anti-piracy taskforce said on Sunday, Xinhua reported.
EU Naval Force spokesman Paddy O'Kennedy said MV Blinda was seized by pirates on Saturday afternoon, approximately 150 nautical miles South East of the port of Salalah, Oman. "MV Blida has a crew of 27 (Algerian, Ukrainian and Philippino) and is carrying a cargo of Clinker," O'Kennedy said in a statement on Sunday.
The 20,586 tonne Bulk Carrier was on her way to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from Salalah in Oman at the time of the attack. "No further details of the attack are known at this stage," he said, adding that the vessel was registered with MSC (HOA) but had not reported to UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO).
There are now 28 vessels and 654 hostages being held by pirates off the coast of Somalia.
The pirates have intensified their action in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden and most of hijackings end without casualties when a ransom has been paid, but often after several months of negotiations.
The Gulf of Aden, a body of water between Somalia and Yemen, is the main sea route between Europe and Asia. Tankers carrying Middle East oil through the Suez Canal must pass first through the Gulf of Aden.
About four per cent of the world's daily oil supply is shipped through the gulf.
The attacks are being carried out by increasingly well- coordinated Somali gangs armed with automatic weapons and rocket- propelled grenades, maritime officials said.
The Horn of Africa nation has been without a functioning government since 1991, and remains one of the world's most violent and lawless countries.
Combined Task Force 150, a naval alliance dominated by the United States and based in the Gulf of Aden nation of Djibouti, is patrolling an area within the Gulf of Aden to help protect ships from pirates.