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11 Nov 2009 11:06
Somali pirates said on Wednesday they had hijacked a fishing vessel and another ship in the Indian Ocean believed to be carrying oil.
Pirate Hassan said by telephone from the coastal town of Haradheere that three gunmen were wounded while seizing the second vessel overnight on Tuesday.
“They hijacked it from the Indian Ocean and its 24 crew are safe. There was brief fighting before we captured it.
Three of my friends were injured,” Hassan told Reuters.
Heavily armed pirates from Somalia are holding at least 11 vessels and more than 200 crew hostage, including a British couple whose yacht was hijacked off the Seychelles.
The presence of a multinational naval force patrolling the strategic shipping lanes through the Gulf of Aden, which links Europe to Asia, has failed to curb their attacks. Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based East African Seafarers Assistance Programme and a pirate called Osman both said a fishing vessel had been hijacked off the northern Somali coast earlier in the week.
“Our colleagues hijacked a Yemeni fishing boat near Hafun on Monday night,” Osman told Reuters.
On Sunday, pirates seized a United Arab Emirates-flagged cargo ship loaded with weapons bound for Somalia, maritime experts said.
Then on Monday, the gunmen launched their longest-range hijack attempt yet—opening fire on a giant Hong Kong-flagged crude oil tanker 1 000 nautical miles east of Mogadishu.—Reuters
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