Pirates attacked two cargo ships off the coast of Kenya and west of the Seychelles yesterday and boarded one of the vessels, the European Union naval force said.
“In the early morning of October 22nd 2009, 400 nautical miles east of Mombasa, Kenya, pirates attempted to hijack MV Jolly Rosso,” EU Navfor, the European Union’s counter-piracy force in the region, said in a statement.
“Almost at the same time, MV Al Khaliq, a Panama-flagged bulk carrier, reported being under attack 180 nautical miles west of the Seychelles,” it said.
The MV Jolly Rosso, an Italian-flagged cargo ship, evaded the attack without casualties but pirates boarded the bulk carrier, the MV Al Khaliq, the statement said.
EU Navfor said one of its maritime patrol aircraft had “confirmed the hijack of MV Al Khaliq, six pirates on board and two attack skiffs in tow. The mother skiff has already been taken on board with a crane.”
It gave no details of the cargo or the nationalities and number of crew on board the ships.
Somali pirate gangs have caused havoc in the strategic waterways linking Europe with Asia, even though foreign navies patrol the area, and have made millions of dollars in ransom payments.
Last week, Somali pirates seized a Chinese bulk carrier with 25 Chinese crew in the Indian Ocean.