S Korea fishing vessel 'hijacked' off Somalia

2017-05-27 15:00
An armed Somali pirate. (File: AFP)

An armed Somali pirate. (File: AFP)

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Seoul - A South Korean fishing vessel was apparently hijacked in waters off Somalia on Saturday, a defence ministry official said.

"The boat sent a message that she was being approached by some unidentified vessels, the South Korean official told AFP.

Contact with the fishing boat was then lost, he said.

South Korea's naval anti-piracy unit, which was on routine patrol off Somalia, was urgently dispatched to the site, the official added.

The fishing vessel was carrying an unknown number of crew members, including South Koreans and foreigners, he said.

Somali pirates hijacked an Iranian fishing boat with a crew of up to 20 on Tuesday.

They took the captured vessel to a port in northern Somalia, John Steed, regional manager for Oceans Beyond Piracy, a US-based non-profit group, said on Wednesday.

There have been at least eight attacks by Somali pirates in recent months and three successful hijackings.

Last week the Indian navy thwarted an attempted hijacking, chasing away at least three boats that had swarmed a cargo vessel off Somalia's northeast.

Lawlessness and a lack of job opportunities in Somalia, combined with the waning attention of international anti-piracy patrols has given piracy new life.

Somali pirates began staging attacks in 2005, seriously disrupting a major international shipping route and costing the global economy billions of dollars a year.

At the peak of the piracy crisis in January 2011, 736 hostages and 32 boats were held.

Read more on:    south korea  |  somalia  |  east africa

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