SOMALI pirates have seized a Singapore-flagged container ship in the Indian Ocean near the Seychelles. The distance from Somalia to the Seychelles is roughly 1500 km’s, or Â 935 miles.
Hey, not to worry: Â they’re only protecting the Somali coast from over fishing, these poor impoverished people. Â Its all our fault that they’re Â doing it tough, they Â have no other choice, right?
“The Singapore flagged and owned boxship Kota Wajar was seized around 550km north the Seychelles,” said Andrew Mwangura, who heads the Kenyan chapter of East African Seafarers Assistance Program.
Other maritime sources in the region confirmed the information.
A maritime source in the area, who did not wish to be identified, said that the attack took place early today, 44km from the site of recent attacks on French tuna-fishing boats.
He also said that the attack was only 330km from the Seychelles, inside the archipelago’s exclusive economic zone.
The maritime security centre of the European Union, which has an anti-piracy naval force patrolling waters affected by Somali piracy, also confirmed the hijacking.
“During the early morning of October 15, 2009, a Singapore-flagged container ship KOTA WAJAR was hijacked in the Indian Ocean by pirates some 300 nautical miles (550km) north of the Seychelles,” a statement said.
“An EU NAVFOR maritime patrol aircraft was tasked to investigate the situation,” it said, without providing further details.
The latest hijacking brings to at least six the number of vessels in the hands of Somali pirates.
The others include a Spanish trawler, a Taiwanese fishing vessel and Ukrainian, German and Turkish freighters.
According to non-governmental observers Ecoterra International, at least 163 attacks have been carried out by Somali pirates since the start of 2009 alone, 47 of them successful hijackings.
A flotilla of foreign warships has since last year been patrolling the Gulf of Aden, one of the busiest maritime trade routes on the globe, prompting pirates to hunt down their prey far out in the Indian Ocean.
Experts had warned in recent days that dropping winds near the Seychelles had attracted pirates, who generally launch attacks from so-called “mother ships” with tiny skiffs.