9 December 2005

Somalia: Ship Evades Capture By Somali Pirates

Nairobi — A ship has narrowly escaped being hijacked by pirates in northern Somalia.

The vessel, mv Sirchai Petroleum II, was said to be on its way to deliver fuel to fishing vessels in southern Somalia on Monday morning.

Seafarers Assistance Programme (SAP) coordinator Andrew Mwangura told the Nation yesterday that he had been informed by the vessel owners that the attack occurred at 10am.

"Immediately the hijackers appeared, the master started speeding," he said.

The hijackers sprayed the ship with bullets, but the speed saved the ship and her 10-man crew, said Mr Mwangura.

No one was hurt, but the condition of the ship is not yet clear.

"The initial information was centred on the crew. We are still trying to find out the condition of the vessel," said Mr Mwangura.

The attack occurred near Haradhere, an area that appears to be under the total control of pirates.

There are also reports that a container vessel was hijacked on November 28.

But mv Torgelow and her 10-man crew was released a day later, on November 29. She is currently anchored at port El-Maan and is expected in Mombasa today.

Thirty two cases of hijacking have been reported since March 15.

"The Philippine embassy in Malaysia has been in touch with the Malaysian broker who supplied 12 Filipino crews to the three Taiwanese fishing vessels now under captivity in Koyema island," revealed Mr Mwangura.

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