Somali pirates seize Greek tanker

2011-11-02 14:07

Nairobi - Somali pirates have captured a Greek chemical tanker with 22 sailors and were commandeering it to a hideout in the north of the war-torn country, a maritime official said on Wednesday.

The Marshall Islands-flagged, Greek-owned vessel was seized on Monday some 140 nautical miles southeast of Bab El-Mandeb, the strait separating Yemen and Djibouti, said Andrew Mwangura, a Kenya-based maritime watcher.

The MT Liquid Velvet had 21 Filipinos and one Greek sailor on board. The pirates have not made any demands yet.

With the end of monsoon season, Somali gunmen are expected to venture into calmer seas where they have caused havoc in recent years, targeting vessels for ransom.

Two decades of lawlessness which has carved up Somalia into mini-fiefdoms ruled by gunmen and militia has encouraged piracy.

At least 47 foreign vessels and more than 500 sailors are held by pirates, according to Ecoterra International, an NGO monitoring maritime activity in the region.

Read more on:    somalia  |  east africa  |  somali pirates
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