German ship hijacked off Somalia

2010-09-09 12:19

Nairobi - German container ship Magellan Star was on Thursday at the centre of a standoff between Somali pirates and international naval forces, reports said.

According to a report in shipping journal TradeWinds, the ship was seized by pirates on Wednesday.

Magellan Chartering Services, which operates as a broker for the ship's owner, has not officially confirmed the hijacking, but the company's managing director dropped heavy hints there was a problem.

"We have been asked to keep things top secret for the sake of the crew's safety," Claus Brohan told TradeWinds.

The journal said that the US-led Combined Maritime Forces were believed to be at the centre of the naval response to the hijacking.

Attempts to contact the CMF proved unsuccessful.

The 11 crew members - chiefly Filipino and Russian - of the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged ship are believed to have locked themselves into a safe room when the pirates boarded.

The European Union's anti-piracy force off Somalia, EU NAVFOR, told the German Press Agency dpa it had no information on the reported hijacking.

EU NAVFOR would only confirm that the Malta-flagged MV OLIB G, with a crew of 15 Georgians and three Turks, was seized by Somali pirates on the same day.

Piracy is rife off the Horn of Africa nation, which has been without an effective central government since 1991.