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Pattaya Daily News

30 October 2009 :: 13:10:21 pm 8537

Thai Fishing Boat Hijacked By Somali Pirates

Pattaya, October 30, 2009, [PDN] a Thai fishing boat was hijacked by Somali pirates, north of the Seychelles islands, on Thursday, October 29. A British couple were also reportedly being held by Somali pirates after their yacht was attacked on Friday, October 23. Somali pirates now have eight ships held to ransom, four seized in the past two weeks.
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The Thai Foreign Ministry reported yesterday, October 29, that a Thai fishing boat, ‘Thai Union 3’, had been hijacked early in the morning by Somali pirates 200 nautical miles north of the Seychelles and 650 miles from the coast of Somalia. The pirates had apparently been approaching the ‘Thai Union 3’ in two skiffs when the crew of fishing vessel spotted them coming and sent out a distress signal reported it was under attack by pirates. The European Union’s anti-piracy patrol off Somalia NAVFOR said it had spotted the Thai Union 3 coming under attack by two pirate skiffs at 0530 GMT.

“EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol Aircraft made visual contact with the fishing vessel and confirmed that pirates were on board, with two skiffs tied up behind it,” NAVFOR later reported. “EU NAVFOR will continue to monitor the vessel that now appears to be heading towards the Somali coast.” It is not yet known how many crew members were aboard the ‘Thai Union 3’, nor their nationalities.

Thani Thongpakdi, the Foreign Ministry’s deputy spokesman, later stated that the Thai Embassy in Bahrain was informed by the EU navy of the hijacking and that the Thai Embassy Nairobi will deal with Somalia in connection with the hijacked fishing vessel the ship. Mr.Thani also said Thailand is open to negotiate with pirates if possible.

As for the British couple , Paul and Rachel Chandler , had been voyaging in six-month spells on board their yacht, the Lynn Rival, around the Greek islands, Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Oman, Yemen, India, the Maldives and the Seychelles, when they were hijacked. Paul Chandler told ITV news: “I was off watch. I was asleep and men with guns came aboard. It was on Friday last week at 0230.” He said the couple were being held hostage on a Singapore-registered container ship called the Kota Wajah.

Somalia has been a rogue state for 18 years, with no effective government and almost half the population dependent on aid, making the temptation to raid ships for multi-million dollar ransoms a high one. The high-seas hijackings have continued, despite an international armada of a dozen warships from the US, the European Union, NATO, Japan, South Korea and China, which were sent to the Gulf of Aden in 2008 to combat an increase in piracy.

The pirates have now expanded further out into the Indian Ocean to avoid the naval patrols, with a new spate of piracy following the end of the monsoon season. Over the last couple of weeks, pirates have seized a Chinese cargo ship, a Spanish fishing boat, a Panamanian cargo vessel. NAVFOR stated that the latest hijacking meant Somali pirates were now holding eight ships.

Reporter : Methawee   Photo : Internet   Category : Crime News

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