February 26, 2007

Somali Pirates Take Ship, U.S. Sends Warship

(Mogadishu, Somalia) Since 1991, 46 ocean vessels have been hijacked in open waters off the coast of Somalia by pirates. Yesterday, there was another. It appears that the UN needs to provide for some form of security for vessels it is sending into harm's way.

From Reuters:

A U.S. warship is approaching the area off the Horn of Africa where Somali pirates have anchored a hijacked ship carrying U.N. food aid, a U.N. spokeswoman said on Monday.

Gunmen boarded the Kenyan-owned MV Rozen on Sunday, taking hostage its six Kenyan and six Sri Lankan crew after intercepting the freighter by speedboat.

It was the third hijacking of a ship hired to carry relief supplies by the U.N.'s World Food Programme (WFP) in two years.

WFP spokeswoman Penny Ferguson said the world body understood the vessel was now anchored off Bargal, a small port in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region.

"We also understand a U.S. warship is heading to that area but that it is still in international waters," Ferguson said. "There has been no contact yet from the pirates and our biggest concern remains for the safety of the crew."

U.N. spokesperson Saed Warsame said the ship, owned by the Motako Shipping Company based in Mombassa, had unloaded its food cargo and was empty when the hijacking occurred.

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