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Somali pirates strike again

Somali pirates strike again

Nairobi: Somali pirates have seized an Iranian vessel off Yemen. The "Talca" cargo ship, which was carrying oranges from Egypt, is now 640 kilometers off the Somali coast.
Meanwhile, Maltese flagged cargo vessel Frigia, owned by Turkey's Karya Maritime was also hijacked Saturday. The ship which was carrying fertiliser from Israel to Thailand had passed through the security corridor formed by UN after being escorted by military ships.
The ship has a 19-member crew, 17 of whom are Turkish and the other 2 are Ukrainian citizens.
However, despite multiple attempts the pirates did not have it all their own way over the weekend. Zim's Africa Star vessel's security guards managed to fend off two pirate ships attempting to board it and carry off its cargo Saturday. The gunfight took place off the Somalian coast. None of the Israeli ship's crew were harmed in the fight.

It marks the second such incident in 72 hours. Last Thursday, Somali pirates tried to hijack the same ship just 300 meters off the coast of Mombasa, Kenya. The attackers opened fire upon the ship, but the Israeli security guards responded with gunfire, driving the assailants off.

A couple of weeks ago, an Israel chemicals ship carrying phosphates and potash was hijacked in the Indian Ocean. There were no Israelis on the ship.

The Africa Star has been attacked by pirates before. In September 2009 Somali pirates assailed the ship 700 km east of Somalia.
Finally, Somali pirates who captured a North Korean-flagged Libyan cargo ship have demanded a three-million-dollar ransom and threatened to kill its crew, maritime officials said.

The 4,800-tonne vessel, owned by Libya's White Sea Shipping, was attacked in the northwestern Gulf of Aden, south of the Yemeni coast, in February.
"Captors of the MV Rim are demanding three million dollars of ransom to release the ship and its 10 Syrian crew," Andrew Mwangura, who works for a seamen's aid programme in Mombasa, Kenya, told AFP.
"They are threatening to kill the hostages."
The Rim was not registered with authorities monitoring the Indian Ocean area between Somalia and the Arabian peninsula, and nothing is known about its cargo or where it was headed when it was attacked.
After it was captured, pirates took the vessel to an area off the town of Laasgoray, on the border between Somalia's breakaway regions of Somaliland and Puntland.  [29/03/10]

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