Reports from Harardhere district of Mudug Province say two armed boats attacked and later kidnapped a German cargo ship at sea near Gaan, 25 km east of Harardhere.
Eye witnesses said the kidnapping took place midnight last night. Unconfirmed reports add there were some casualties and district officials unsuccessfully tried to persuade the attackers to release the ship and the crew.
A Japanese cargo ship was seen in the area earlier this month.
Most kidnapping of this kind happen near Somali coastal towns and pirates often release ships and crew after ransom money is paid. Sea pirating flourished after Somalia central collapsed in 1991.
Lightning bolt is off the coast of the Mudug Province of Somalia.