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Exclusive: Hijacked VLCC Samho Dream turns pirate mothership

Exclusive: Hijacked VLCC Samho Dream turns pirate mothership

Busan: Somali pirates could be planning to use the hijacked South Korean VLCC Samho Dream as a mothership the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) warned yesterday. In a warning sent to shipping obtained by Seatrade Asia Online the IMB said the Samho Dream had the left the anchorage area Hobyo yesterday morning. The warning said the vessel was still hijacked and one pirate skiff had been sighted onboard. "The shipping community is warned that MV [Samho Dream] might be used either to investigate seas states or to conduct mothership operations in the vicinity of shipping lanes," the warning stated. The pirates could be planning to use the skiff onboard for reconnaissance or to launch attacks on other merchant vessels in the area. The VLCC, which has been hijacked for five months, was headed eastwards and was about 80nm east of the Somali coast. Last week the master of the Samho Dream Kim Sung-kyu contacted Yonhap News Agency pleading for help and saying the pirates had threatened to kill the 24 member crew one by one if their ransom demands were not met. The 300,000 dwt vessel is owned by Samho Shipping Corp. [15/09/10]

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