Somali pirates capture two ships

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pirates from Somalia have captured two ships in the Gulf of Aden on Monday. The ships thought to be captured are the British owned St James Park chemical tanker, and the Panamanian Navios Apollon cargo ship. This brings the total number of ships being held by the pirates to ten. Also on Monday, pirates released a Singapore-owned cargo ship, the Kota Wajar, for US$4 million (€2.7m, £2.5m) ransom.

Location of the Gulf of Aden
Image: wikipedia:User:NormanEinstein.

The pirate commander Mohamed Shakir told The Times “We have hijacked a ship with [a] British flag in the Gulf of Aden late yesterday, we have peacefully captured the ship and no shots were fired and [there are] no casualties.” The St James Park's owner Zodiac Maritime Agencies released a statement saying that none of the crew had been injured and that they are working to get the crew members released.

Somalia's provisional government has vowed to fight piracy in their territory, although the pirates appear to outnumber the government. The government receives aid from foreign nations and the European Union to help fight the piracy. Large ransoms appear to be the motive for young Somalians and foreigners to hijack these ships.