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Somali pirates hijack Japanese ship
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15:18, October 29, 2007

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Somali pirates have hijacked a Japanese-owned ship off the Indian Ocean coast with unidentified crew members aboard, Kenya's maritime said on Monday.

Andrew Mwangura, the program coordinator of the East Africa Seafarers Assistance Program (SAP), said the Panama-flagged Golden Mori was seized early Sunday at Socotra, a Yemeni island in the Indian Ocean.

"The Japanese owned Golden Mori was hijacked on Sunday some eight nautical miles from Socotra. We don't have information yet on the number of crew members aboard and their nationalities," Mwangura told Xinhua by telephone.

"We also don't know the destination of the vessel which is being held captive by pirates in Somalia."

The incident comes barely two weeks after the Somalia pirates hijacked the Comoros-flagged Almarjan which was on its way to Mogadishu from Dubai when it was hijacked by pirates.

The Dubai-based vessel operated by Biyat International which was bound to Mombasa after discharge from the war-ravaged Mogadishu had over 2,500 tons of general cargo.

The surge in piracy in the waters off the Somali coast, one of Africa's longest and one of the world's most dangerous, has sparked off global outcry with the United Nations calling for international action to combat Somalia's "plague of piracy," saying it threatened vital aid deliveries to some 1 million people.

The Horn of Africa nation has had no functioning national government since 1991 and the country has been divided into fiefdoms run by rival warlords.

The International Maritime Board has warned of an alarming increase in piracy in Somali waters and has urged ships to avoid the area.

Source: Xinhua

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