BREMEN, GERMANY: Somali pirates on Wednesday hijacked a Greek oil supertanker in the North Arabian Sea, the European Union Naval Force: Somalia (EUNAVFOR) confirmed. Meanwhile, pirates released a South Korean fishing vessel after four months.
EU Naval Force spokesman Paddy O'Kennedy said the oil tanker MV Irene SL was pirated approximately 350 nautical miles (648 kilometers) southeast of Muscat, the capital of Oman. He said the vessel has a dead weight of 319,247 tonnes and is both Greek flagged and Greek owned.
The vessel was on its way to the Egyptian seaport town of Suez from Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates. It is carrying a crew of 25 whom consist of seven Greek, one Georgian, and seventeen Filipinos. "There is presently no communication with the vessel and no information regarding the condition of the crew," O'Kennedy said.
Meanwhile, Somali pirates released the South Korean fishing vessel Golden Wave after four months. The vessel, which is also known as the Keummi 305, was pirated off the Kenyan coast on October 9. The conditions of the 43 crew members on board, of which 39 are Kenyan, was not immediately known.
Currently, Somali pirates are holding at least 29 vessels with a total of more than 663 hostages, according to the European Union Naval Force: Somalia, which keeps a record of pirating incidents. Most hijackings usually end without casualties when a ransom has been paid. This, however, often takes many months.
In recent years, Somali pirates have hijacked hundreds of ships, taking in hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom. Ships are patrolling the shipping lanes near Somalia in an effort to reduce hijackings, but the anti-piracy force has warned that attacks are likely to continue.
According to a recent study, maritime piracy cost the global economy up to $12 billion last year, with Somalia-based pirates responsible for 95 percent of the costs.
(BNO NEWS )