Somali pirates seize Turkish bulk carrier
A TURKISH bulk carrier was seized by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden at around 05:30 this morning, despite the unfavourable weather conditions prevailing on account of the monsoon season, the International Maritime Bureau has confirmed.
The ship has been named as the 1980-built, 34,173 dwt Horizon 1, said to be bound for Aqaba in Saudi Arabia laden with sulphate, and with a crew of 23 on board.
A report from a local Lloyd"s Marine Intelligence Unit correspondent suggests that at the onset of the attack, the master requested urgent assistance by radio and that a Turkish warship was sent to the scene.
Details have also reportedly been confirmed to Associated Press by owner Horizon Denizcilik, which said that three pirates were involved in capture of the ship.
The pirates have not yet issued any demands or even contacted the company, it added.
According to the IMB, there are currently 12 vessels being held by Somali pirates, with something like 200 seafarers in pirate custody as a result.
23 Turkish crew
Andrew Mwangura, coordinator of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Program, said the vessel was Horizon-1.
"It was taken in the Gulf of Aden this morning with 23 Turkish crew," he said. "In this season, it is hard to take ships because monsoon winds make the seas rough. No one expected attacks at this time."
Mwangura said he believed the ship was carrying sulphate.