Somali pirates hijack Italian-owned ship with 21 crew

09:40, April 22, 2011      

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Somali pirates have seized an Italian bulk carrier with 21 crew members, approximately 350NM South East of Salalah, Oman, in the Indian Ocean waters, the European Union anti-piracy mission said on Thursday.

EU Naval Force Somalia spokesman Paddy O'Kennedy said the MV Rosalia D'Amato was hijacked early Thursday with a crew of 6 Italians and 15 Filipinos.

He said the 74,500 tonne Italian flagged and owned vessel was on its way to Bandar Imam Khomeini, Iran from Paranagua, Brazil when it was attacked by a single skiff.

"There is no further information about the crew at present," O' Kennedy said.

He said coalition warships had communications with the vessel and were told that the 'pirates onboard stay away'. O'Kennedy said the MV Rosalia D'Amato was registered with the Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa MSC (HOA) and was reporting to UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO). The Gulf of Aden, a body of water between Somalia and Yemen, is the main sea route between Europe and Asia.

Tankers carrying Middle East oil through the Suez Canal must pass first through the Gulf of Aden. About 4 percent of the world's daily oil supply is shipped through the gulf. The attacks are being carried out by increasingly well- coordinated Somali gangs armed with automatic weapons and rocket- propelled grenades, maritime officials said. The Horn of Africa nation has been without a functioning government since 1991, and remains one of the world's most violent and lawless countries.

Source: Xinhua
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