Somali pirates have hijacked a Singaporean registered vessel

Somali pirates have hijacked a Singaporean registered vessel with a crew of 17 off the coast of Kenya, Singapore maritime body said on Sunday.

A statement from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said it received a report that a Singapore-registered Liquefied Petroleum Gas vessel, York, was boarded by suspected pirates at about 90 nautical miles from Mombasa, Kenya. It said the liquefied petroleum gas vessel, York, issued a distress call on Saturday night while at the time the pirates boarded, and the vessel was on its way from Mombasa to Mahe, Seychelles.

“A distress alert was received at about 2025 hrs (Singapore time) on October 23, 2010 while at position Lat 4 degrees 11’S Long 41 degrees 19’E,” the statement said.

The port authority said it was working with the ship’s owner and other government agencies to secure its release.

Pirates are holding nearly 20 ships with a total of nearly 400 hostages, according to the European Union Naval Force Somalia.

Most hijackings end without casualties when a ransom has been paid, but often after several months of negotiations.

The Gulf of Aden, a body of water between Somalia and Yemen, is the main sea route between Europe and Asia.

Tankers carrying Middle East oil through the Suez Canal must pass first through the Gulf of Aden. About 4 percent of the world’s daily oil supply is shipped through the gulf.

The attacks are being carried out by increasingly well- coordinated Somali gangs armed with automatic weapons and rocket- propelled grenades, maritime officials said. The Horn of Africa nation has been without a functioning government since 1991, and remains one of the world’s most violent and lawless countries. (PNA/Xinhua)

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