Pattaya Daily News

03 January 2010 :: 13:01:33 pm 3815

Two British Supertankers Seized by Somali Pirates

Somali pirates have successfully seized two more British flagged supertankers off the coast of Somalia on Friday, despite the presence of an international task force that is supposed to be protecting the hazardous freighting route.
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International, the 3rd of January 2010 [Pattaya Daily News]: Somali pirates on Friday the 1st of January successfully captured the British flagged cargo freighter “Asian Glory” with a full compliment of 4000 new cars and 25 crew. The 25 crew, none of which are British, are said to be in good spirits and unharmed at present. The “Asian Glory” is the second British ship to be captured in the Gulf of Aden over the last week, following the seizure of the St. James Park on Monday.

This latest seizure brings the total to 4 ships in the last week that have been seized by Somali pirates, indicating that despite the international anti-piracy task forces presence in the region piracy still remains a serious problem. In the past year since the taskforce has been present attacks on ships in the Gulf of Aden has doubled, however; seizures have increased only marginally. Over the last two years 80 ships have been seized and several multi-million dollar ransoms have been paid, currently there are 14 vessels and close to 300 crew in captivity.

A spokesman from the EU Naval Force deployed in the Gulf of Aden, Commander John Harbor stated that the “Asian Glory” was captured late on Friday roughly 600 miles east of the coast of Somalia. No reliable reports on the ships location have been reported at present. “The standard procedure for the pirates is to get the ship back to their stronghold and then contact the owner,” he said. He further added that the 45,000 tonne vessel had been headed to Saudi Arabia from Singapore however it had not yet entered the internationally recognized travel corridor patrolled by EU anti-piracy teams.

An official from the Bulgarian office of the London based company Mr. Prodan Radanov, said: “One of the sailors managed to call the British management company and say the ship was hijacked, but that the crew were in good health and were not injured.”

The Asian Glory joins in captivity the other British vessel, the tanker St James Park, which was seized on Monday in the Gulf of Aden on its way to Thailand from Spain. It was not escorted by a naval frigate from the task force (few of the 20,000 ships that pass through the Gulf each year are), and has now arrived off the pirate stronghold of Hobyo. Both British-flagged ships are managed by the London-based Zodiac Maritime Agencies. The Asian Glory’s crew consists of eight Bulgarians, 10 Ukrainians, five Indians and two Romanians, while the St James Park has 26 crew, including three from the Philippines, three Russians, one Georgian, two Romanians, five Bulgarians and three Turks.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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