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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Somalia: Supplies being cut off to pirates on benzene tanker

Reported here:
Two US navy ships sailed near a hijacked Japanese chemical tanker to block supplies from reaching pirates on board, in a bid to secure its release, a spokeswoman told AFP on Tuesday.

The Golden Nori, carrying tens of thousands of tonnes of inflammable benzene, was hijacked on October 28 along with its 23 crew members from Myanmar, the Philippines and South Korea.

"We have two US navy ships that are monitoring the Golden Nori right now and we are taking appropriate steps to prevent re-supply of the vessel," said Commander Lydia Robertson, spokeswoman for the US Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain.

By blocking the supplies of the tanker, which was sailing from Singapore to Israel when it was hijacked, the navy aims to force the pirates to abandon the vessel, she said.

"The safety of the crew and the vessel continues to be a priority and we are committed to countering and deterring piracy in order to build a lawful maritime order."

The Golden Nori is the last vessel remaining under pirates' control off the Somali coastline after the Comoran-flagged cargo MV Al Marjan was released over the weekend.
Previous report on "cornering" of the vessel here.

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