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Pirates hijack 4 ships in 48 hours

Pirates hijack 4 ships in 48 hours
THE piracy situation in the Gulf of Aden is ?out of control? according to ICC International Maritime Bureau Pottengal Mukundan. He was responding to the ?unprecedented? hijacking of four large merchant ships within the space of 48 hours.

PIRATES HIJACK FOUR SHIPS IN 48 HOURS

THE piracy situation in the Gulf of Aden is ?out of control? according to ICC International Maritime Bureau Pottengal Mukundan. He was responding to the ?unprecedented? hijacking of four large merchant ships within the space of 48 hours.

"Another ship, a German vessel, was taken late on Thursday," said Noel Choong, head of the bureau's piracy reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur. This brings to eight the number of merchant ships now being held by Somali pirates.

Capt Mukundan added: ?We have not seen such a surge in pirate activity in this area previously. These pirates are not afraid to use significant firepower in attempts to bring vessels under their control. Over 260 seafarers have been taken hostage in Somalia this year. Unless further action is taken, seafarers remain in serious danger whilst navigating the Gulf of Aden.?

He said that the the latest spate of hijackings appeared to show that the recent UN Security Council Resolution 1816 (2008) that allows states cooperating with Somalia to enter its territorial waters in order to repress acts of piracy and armed robbery ?by all necessary means? is ?clearly not working?. He did stress though that Coalition warships have intervened and helped prevent a number of attacks.

In all reported instances, vessels have been approached by speedboats containing men armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers. In their attempts to slow down and board the vessels, the pirates have opened fire against the unarmed merchant ships.

It now appears that there was a ?casualty? when the Malaysia-flag palm oil tanker Bunga Melati Dua was hijacked. It owner, MISC, issued the following statement earlier today: ?First communication with Bunga Melati Dua was established at 1705 hours (local time) / 0905 GMT on 21 August 2008. MISC was informed that there has been a casualty onboard involving one of our Filipino crew members during the boarding of the vessel by the hijackers. We are unable to confirm this incident. We are informed that the remaining crew members are safe.?

www.TurkishMaritime.Com.tr

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