Panama-flagged cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates: reports

21:45, June 02, 2010      

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Armed Somali pirates attacked and took control of a Panama-flagged cargo ship in the early hours on Wednesday, the EU Naval Force has confirmed.

According to the EU Naval Force, USS COLE from NATO first reported that they had seen a person with arms on board. A coalition Maritime Patrol Aircraft was tasked to investigate the situation and reported that the ship was hijacked.

The MV QSM Dubai, the Panama-flagged general cargo ship with dead weight of 15, 220 tonnes and a crew of 24 comprising Egyptian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Ghanaian nationals, was in bound from Brazil when it was hijacked in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor.

Pirate attacks off the Somali coast have continued despite the presence of several warships deployed by navies of NATO, the European Union, Russia, among others, 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 while 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

(Editor:燕勐)

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