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December 29, 2009

Somali pirates seize three vessels

Somali pirates have hijacked three more ships in a spate of recent incidents.

The Greek-owned Panama-flag ultra-handymax bulk carrier Navios Apollon was captured late Monday night as it was sailing 240 nautical miles east-northeast of Seychelles, the Greek Coast Guard said today.

The ship, owned by Navios Maritime Partners, was seized by a group of approximately 10 armed pirates who approached the ship in at least two attack boats. The pirates boarded the vessel and immobilized the 18-member foreign crew and its Greek captain, at gunpoint.

The Navios Apollon was heading from Florida to India loaded with fertilizer.

Earlier Monday, the U.K flagged chemical tanker St James Park, owned by Philbox Ltd, was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden whilst transiting the International Recognized Transit Corridor (IRTC).

St James Park has a crew of 26, including three Filipinosm three Russians, a Georgians, two Romanians, five Bulgarians, two Ukrainans, a Pole, six Indians and three Turkish nationals.

The ship sent a distress message and a warship from Task Force 151 was able to get in contact with the ship using his Somali translator who reported that the ship has been hijacked. The M/V St JAMES PARK, who started her transit on 27 December, was registered with MSC HOA but did not join a group transit.

The ship is now heading towards the Somali coast and EU NAVFOR is monitoring the situation.

AFP reports that earlier pirates seized a Yemeni freighter and 15 crew members.

The Al-Mahmoudia 2 left the port of Aden on December 18, the Yemeni authorities said yesterday. AFP says that the Yemeni freighter was intercepted in the Gulf of Aden.


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