Somali pirates hijack Taiwan fishing boat

10:04, May 09, 2010      

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Somali pirates have hijacked a Taiwan fishing boat off the Horn of Africa nation coast with 26 crew members, a regional maritime official confirmed on Saturday.

Andrew Mwangura, East Africa coordinator of Seafarers Assistance Program, said the ship's owner lost contact with the Tai Yuan 227 two days ago north of the Seychelles as it headed for the Maldives. "The fishing boat lost contacts two days ago and has 26 crew members from China, Kenya, Taiwanese and Mozambique. We received the reports on Friday and it seemed the hijack took place two or three days ago," Mwangura told Xinhua by telephone.

The International Maritime Bureau has also confirmed the hijack.

Pirate attacks off the Somali coast have continued despite the presence of several warships, deployed by navies of the NATO, the European Union, Russia, China, South Korea and India in the region to protect cargo and cruise ships against piracy.

Kenya's proximity to Somalia prompted insurance companies to hike up their premiums for ships traveling to Kenyan ports to mitigate the increased insecurity.

This led shipping companies to take the longer route around the Cape of Good Hope traveling to the Kenyan ports, with cost of doing business on the Kenyan coast going up by over 40 percent.

To date more than 100 suspects have been transferred to Kenya by the Western warships patrolling the Indian Ocean to combat piracy.

It is only Kenya and the Seychelles in the region that have agreed to take in suspects for prosecution, but both have recently complained about the burden of trying and jailing pirates in their countries.

Source: Xinhua


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