12 May 2010

Greek freighter seized by pirates in Gulf of Aden: coastguard

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ATHENS — A Greek-owned freighter was seized by pirates in the Gulf of Aden with a crew of 23 people on board, most of them Filipinos, the ship's operating company said on Wednesday.
"A group of around 10 pirates on speedboats boarded the vessel," the general manager of Athens-based Eurobulk Ltd Markos Vassilikos told AFP.
"It seems the crew are in good health," he added, identifying the men on board as 19 Filipinos, one Romanian, one Ukrainian and two Greeks, one of whom is the captain.
The Liberian-flagged freighter Eleni P was sailing from Ukraine to China with a cargo of iron ore when the hijacking occurred, a Greek coastguard spokeswoman told AFP.
"We were informed by the Atalanta international naval force patrolling the region," she said.
A statement from the EU naval force squadron EU NAVFOR said the hijacking occurred 250 nautical miles (288 miles) off the coast of Oman but said the freighter had a 26-man crew, including 23 Filipinos, two Romanians and an Indian.
"The crew are reported to be safe and EU NAVFOR is monitoring," the statement said.
Somali pirates have raked in millions of dollars in ransom money through hijackings in the Gulf of Aden.
More than 400 seamen are currently being held hostage, the highest number since a surge in Somali piracy in 2007.

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