Two European-owned tankers have been hijacked off the Somali coast, prompting an alert for other vessels to watch for a pick-up in pirate activity, AFP writes, quoting the EU’s anti-piracy naval mission.
‘The Maritime Security Centre run by the EU naval force said that the 9,000-tonne Greek-owned, Panamanian-flagged M.V. Nipayia was seized on Wednesday with its crew of 19. A Greek merchant marine ministry spokesman said the chemical tanker’s Russian captain and 18 Filipino crew members were in good health and that the boat’s owner, Lotus Shipping, had begun negotiations with the pirates.The incident was followed early on Thursday with the capture of the 23,000-tonne Norwegian-owned and Bahamian-registered M.V. Bow-Asir with an unspecified number of crew. Salhus Shipping, which owns the tanker, said in a statement from Norway that the crew numbered 27 members of different nationalities and that they had contacted the company after 16 to 18 pirates came aboard with automatic weapons.”We have no reports of any injuries,” said company director Per Hansen. “We are doing our utmost to ensure the safety of the crew, and have established communication lines with naval forces, insurance companies,flag state and charterer”.