- Pirates have hijacked Turkish freighter with 20 crew members off the coast of Somalia yesterday, maritime officials said today.
Maritime said M/V Yasa Neslihan freighter was boarded by pirates in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday, but said at least six other ships have fended off pirate attacks in the last two days.
Noel Choong, a Maritime official, said an Italian-operated cargo ship with 26 crew managed to escape a pirate attack in the same area on Tuesday with unspecified aggressive maneuvers.
On Wednesday, United States Navy said commercial shipping vessels foiled five recent attempted hijackings by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. "In one instance, a Spanish military patrol plane thwarted pirates trying to hijack an oil tanker by buzzing them three times and dropping smoke canisters," said US statement.
Since early this year, 77 ships have been attacked in the African waters. Thirty-one ships have been hijacked, and 10 remain in the hands of pirates along with nearly 200 crew members.
"Pirate attacks are still continuing in the region, despite additional security measures. It is worrying," Mr Choong said.
Director of London-based International Maritime Bureau Captain Pottengal Mukundan said pre-emptive action is required against mother ships before pirates could carry out hijacking.
"The positions of mother ships are generally known. What we would like to see is the naval vessels going to interdict them, searching them and removing any arms on board," he said.
Several US Navy's 5th Fleet warships also have also been deployed off the Horn of Africa surrounding MV Faina, a Ukrainian ship loaded with tanks and heavy weapons that was seized by Somali pirates on 25 September.
Each year about 20,000 vessels pass through the Gulf of Aden, which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea.
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