Antigua says cargo ship hijacked off Somalia


An Antigua and Barbuda-flagged cargo ship has been hijacked by a band of pirates in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia, the government of the Caribbean state said on Tuesday.

It was the latest reported seizure of a vessel in the Gulf of Aden by pirates from virtually lawless Somalia, who over the last few years have captured dozens of vessels and hundreds of hostages, making off with millions of dollars in ransoms, Reuters notes.

“At approximately 09:09 a.m. AST (1309 GMT), the Maritime Administration of Antigua and Barbuda was advised that the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged cargo vessel the m/v Victoria had been hijacked by eight pirates in the Gulf of Aden whilst proceeding toward the Port of Jeddah in the Red Sea,” the Antigua and Barbuda government said in a statement.

It added the 7,767 gross ton, 146-meter Victoria had a crew of ten and it was believed the hijacked vessel was being taken to the Somalian port of Eyl, a known pirate lair. The statement gave no more details about the fate of the ship’s crew.

Antigua and Barbuda‘s government said the vessel, which is managed by a company in Germany, had been registered with the European Union anti-piracy flotilla operating in the region and was navigating in the recommended East-West corridor of the Gulf at the time of the hijacking.

The ship’s management company and the International Maritime Organization had been informed of the seizure.