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Old 02-05-2010, 08:42 AM   #1
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Al Jazira Report - 5th Feb 10

Somali pirates hijack Libyan ship



Somali pirates have hijacked a Libyan-owned cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden, taking its crew of 17 Romanians and Libyans hostage.

The MV Rim was seized outside the internationally recommended transit corridor patrolled by the anti-piracy naval coalition, the European Union Naval Force (Navfor) said on Thursday.

Kenya-based Ecoterra, which monitors shipping off Somalia, said the 4,800-tonne MV Rim was seized on Tuesday in the strategic channel south of Yemen.

It said it was flying a North Korean flag, but was owned by White Sea Shipping of Tripoli.

"Her crew usually comprises 17 sailors and, based on outdated crew lists, it could be assumed that they are holding Romanian and Libyan nationalities," Ecoterra said.

The group said local reports suggested the hijackers were from Somalia's semi-autonomous northern region of Puntland.

"It is assumed the vessel is now commandeered to one of the Puntland pirate lairs," it said in a statement.

A EU counter-piracy force said a coalition ship, the USS Porter, and a helicopter from the USS Farragut confirmed the hijacking, but had no details on the nationalities of the crew.

"The MV Rim ... has now altered course and is heading towards the Somali Basin. Coalition forces will now monitor the situation," Navfor said in a statement.
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