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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Somali pirates seize Panamanian cargo ship off Yemeni coast

Report says Somali pirates seize Panamanian cargo ship off Yemeni coast:
Yemen's Interior Ministry said Friday that Somali pirates have seized a Panamanian cargo ship off southeast coast of Yemen at the Gulf of Aden.

The ministry said in a statement that the Panamanian-flagged ship called Red Sda Sbirt left Aden port late Thursday and was intercepted by the pirates after sailing about 36 nautical miles off the Yemeni port of Balhaf.

The multinational coalition task force had sent one of its military boats to the specific area where the hijacking took place in an attempt to save the ship, the Yemeni coast guard was quoted by the statement as saying.

The statement mentioned neither the exact time of the attack nor the number of the crew aboard the hijacked ship.

No other reports of this hijacking yet received.

UPDATE 22 November: Reuters says it's the Red Sea Spirit, Greek owned:
Pirates hijacked a Greek-owned bulk carrier on Thursday in the Gulf of Aden near Yemen, a Kenyan maritime official said on Sunday, but Greek officials said the attack may have been unsuccessful.

The vessel was taken 36 nautical miles off the Yemeni port of Balhaf and news of the seizure only emerged on Saturday, said Andrew Mwangura, coordinator of the Kenya-based East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme.

"Red Sea Spirit was taken by gunmen off the Yemeni coast last Thursday. She is flying the Panama flag," Mwangura said. "She is a Greek-owned bulk carrier."

However, a Greek merchant marine ministry spokesman said the managers of the ship, Sekur Holdings, did not confirm the incident. Sekur Holdings were not available for comment.
If that's the right, it's a cement "floating terminal." See here.

UPDATE2: THe shipping company denies the capture of its vessel here:
Greek maritime authorities Sunday denied that a Greek cargo ship had been seized off Yemen, saying the vessel was attacked by pirates but escaped.

Earlier, a Kenyan maritime watchdog reported that the Panama-flagged Red Sea Spirit had been hijacked late Thursday in the Gulf of Aden off Yemen.

But Greek officials said they had spoken to the company which manages the ship, Sekur Holding Inc., and were told it had managed to outrun its attackers..

They also said the attack did not happen on Thursday, but on Monday.

"The cargo ship was attacked on (Monday) November 16 by two speedboats but, by manoeuvring, escaped from the pirates," the authorities said.

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