Pirates Seized Egyptian Tanker

An Egyptian cargo ship and its 28 crew members are the latest to be seized by Somali pirates. This was just one of two attempts today.  The other was unsuccessful.  These attacks have been the most recent since Christmas day when a German helicopter was able to prevent  the hijacking of  another Egyptian Vessel. The Gulf of Aden is known for Somali pirates.

In today’s attack on the Indian tanker,  a Malaysian military helicopter was able to prevent the vessel which was carrying a full load of oil from being seized by bandits on two skiffs, one of which carried seven pirates dressed in military-style uniforms. They did get close enough to attempt to board the vessel, they  fired at it repeatedly however, the captain managed to speed up send out an SOS.   A Malaysian military helicopter responded within minutes. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy’s Fleet in Bahrain, said that the Indian vessel used appropriate measures recommended by the multinational force which include evasive maneuvering and sending a distress signal.

There were no injuries however, there was damage to the tanker.

Multinational naval forces have increased patrol on this area.  According to officials “just the site of a military helicopter often causes the pirates to abort their attack.”  The Malaysian military is  part of the multinational task force that  prevented two other attacks on Chinese Ships less than two weeks ago.

There are more than a dozen Warships from countries including Britain, India, Iran, the U.S., Germany, France and China who have joined forces and are now patrolling the waters between Yemen and Somalia.

The pirates have operated with a free hand because there has been no functioning government in Somalia since 1991. In 2008, the pirates have attacked 111 vessels in the Gulf of Aden. Forty Two of the attacks were successful. There are currently 14 ships which remain under the control of Somali pirates and there are a total of 240 hostages being held on these ships.

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Source: Associated Press

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