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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Somalia: Tanker caught by pirates

Reported initially as a "Greek tanker" here:
A maritime official says a Greek chemical tanker with 20 crew members has been hijacked by armed pirates in the Gulf of Aden near Somalia.

Noel Choong of the International Maritime Bureau says the ship was sailing from Southeast Asia to the Suez Canal when it was seized late on Friday.
Greek official deny the tanker is Greek, as set out here:
Authorities in Athens denied Saturday that a ship reported to have been seized by pirates off the coast of Somalia had any connection with Greece.

Earlier a piracy surveillance centre in Malaysia had reported that Somali pirates had taken over a Greek tanker and separately attacked a ship chartered by the World Food Programme.

The International Maritime Bureau's (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre in Kuala Lumpur, said that pirates boarded a Greek chemical tanker flying the Panamanian flag Friday at 1330 GMT.

But the Greek merchant marine ministry said that it had no knowledge of any recent act of piracy against a vessel linked to Greek interests or carrying Greek nationals.

The ministry said it had been told orally Friday by a company based in the Marshall Islands that a Panamanian-flagged ship, carrying 17 Georgians and three Spaniards, called the Axion or Action, had been boarded by pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

"This ship is not linked to Greek interests, we are not concerned with it," said a spokesman for the ministry's operations center.

Given how complicated arrangements in the world of merchant shipping could be "we cannot completely rule out Greek involvement in the company that owns the ship, but for us it is not the case of a Greek vessel," the spokesman said. Three ships belonging to Greek ship-owners were seized by pirates off Somalia in two weeks at the end of last month.
A couple of other reported attacks:
Gun-toting buccaneers were reported to have stormed a chemical tanker in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia's northern coast, while another group tried to seize a United Nations World Food Programme ship off the coast of the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

The attacks, disclosed by the International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Centre, bring the number of hijacks and attempted hijacks off the Somali coast to 69 this year alone.
It is unclear, to me anyway, whether the tanker in question in the last report is the same as that discussed as "not being Greek."

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