Somali pirates hijack Spanish ship

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Somali pirates said they have captured a Spanish fishing vessel in the Indian Ocean, but Spain said there was sign that any of its vessels had gone missing.

A pirate who gave his name as Ibrahim told Reuters by phone: “My men have hijacked a Spanish fishing vessel from the Indian Ocean yesterday. They are on board and safe.”

Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based East Africa Seafarers Assistance Programme told Reuters by phone they were aware a fishing vessel had been seized, but its ownership was unclear.

The Spanish government in Madrid said it had contacted the vast majority of its vessels in the area and that there was no sign that any had gone missing.
“There are no incidents of missing ships and none of the ships we have contacted have any news of any captured vessel,” a government spokesperson said.

The European Union’s anti-piracy Operation Atalanta also did not have news of any hijacking attempts, he said.

Mwangura said pirates had demanded a $3 million ransom for a North Korea-flagged cargo ship captured early last month.

The pirates were threatening to kill the 10-man Syrian crew of the Libyan-owned MV RIM, he said. Somali pirates have made millions of dollars in ransom payments for various ships in recent months.

Pic: Somali pirates

Source: www.af.reuters.com