Friday, November 14, 2008

Somali pirates seize fishing boat in Kenyan waters

Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme says that a Chinese fishing boat, the Tianyu No. 8, was hijacked around 2100 local time Thursday evening. He tells me that, "The location is not yet known, but it is believed that it was [hijacked] within Kenyan territorial waters." The crew of 24 is believed to be unharmed and the vessel is now in Somali waters.

Prior to hijacking the Tianyu No. 8, the same pirate gang is believed to have attacked the Russian-operated container vessel Kapitan Maslov as it was sailing off Pemba Island (Tanzania). in that incident, Mwangura says that the boxship, "Managed to escape with minor damages and is expected to dock in Mombasa port this evening."

In related news, Lloyd's List today reports that another pirate attack was repulsed in the Gulf of Aden by a vessel armed with a magnetic acoustic device. The unnamed vessel was sailing about 18 miles off the Yemeni coast when approached by suspicious boats, forcing the ship to take evasive manoeuvres. A three-man team of security guards aboard the vessel deployed the device to drive the pirates away. The guards are ex-special forces personnel hired to provide additional security in the waters of this region, and it's almost certain that their numbers will increase over the next few months as ship owners worry about the costs of doing business off East Africa.

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