Pirates hijack Thai merchant ship off Somali coast

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Somalian government called on Saturday for the international community to help stem the wave of recent seafaring pirate attacks off their coast in the Indian Ocean.

The London-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported yesterday that a Thai merchant vessel and its crew of 26 have been hijacked by Somalian pirates off their coastline.

The predominantly Thai crew were kidnapped at gunpoint, and a ransom has been demanded for their release. The merchant ship was en-route from Brazil to Yemen with a cargo of sugar.

A letter to Somalia from the United Nations security council admonished the government. Somalia has largely disintegrated into fiefdoms since the former dictator Siad Barre was ousted in 1991.

Last weekend, a U.S.-owned cruise ship was attacked with rocket propelled grenades. It is the fourth ship to be attacked in the space of a week. According to the IMB, there have been 23 other pirating attacks in coastal waters off the east African nation since March 15.