MALAYSIA SENDS WARSHIPS TO GULF OF ADEN
AS news comes in of two more hijackings by Somali pirates, of a French yacht and an Egyptian-flag merchant ship, which happened within the past two days, Malaysia says it is sending three warships to protect MISC vessels transiting the vital waterway.
The latest hijacking brings to nine the number of commercial vessels now being held to ransom by Somali pirates, as well as the yacht. The total number of merchant seamen now being held is around the 200 mark. Ransoms of well over US$1m per vessel are understood to have been demanded.
The Malaysian newspaper The Star reports that the country's deputy prime minister Najib Razak said that the warships will protect five MISC ships due to sail through the area. It is understood they will not attempt to intervene to release the two MISC chemical tankers, Bunga Melati Dua and Bunga Melati 5, that are being held close to the Somali coast.