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August 5, 2010

Somali pirates seize another ship in "safe" corridor

For the second time within a week Somali pirates have hijacked a ship sailing in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor through the Gulf of Aden.

EU NAVOR says that during the afternoon of Aug 5, 2010, the MV SYRIA STAR reported that she was under attack from pirates who had climbed onboard and fired shots at the crew. Helicopters were immediately dispatched to the vessel and tried to establish communications with the SYRIA STAR, which had stopped in the water.

They helicopters found an abandoned skiff nearby, containing fuel and ammunition. When warships arrived on the scene shortly after, the SYRIA STAR had reversed course and was heading southeast back towards the Horn of Africa under the control of the pirates, who refused to respond to radio contact.

The SYRIA STAR was sailing west in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor through the Gulf of Aden with a cargo of sugar.

The Syrian-owned SYRIA STAR, deadweight 18, 838 tonnes, is managed by Reem Maritim and flagged to St Vincent and the Grenadines. It has a crew of 22 Syrians and 2 Egyptians.

The hijacking of the SYRIA STAR comes three days after the August 2 seizure of the 17,300 dwt MV SUEZ in the transit corridor. And it comes one day after EU NAVFOR reported the return to Somalia of seven individuals apprehended after being detained while trying to attack a Norwegian chemical carrier, the BOW SAGA.

EU NAVFOR said that "due to the legal framework and timelines encompassing piracy and criminal activity at sea, the prosecution of the seven individuals in this specific case could not be initiated with confidence."


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