Captured German tanker heads for Somalia: EU

9th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

A German-owned chemical tanker with an international crew of 22 appeared Sunday to be heading to Somalia, a day after its capture by pirates, a European naval task force said.

The tanker "is heading back towards the Somali coast, it is clearly in the hands of pirates," EU-NAVFOR spokesman John Harbour told AFP, a day after armed pirates hijacked the 13,000-tonne Marida Marguerite off Oman.

The crew -- made up of 19 Indians, two Bangladeshis and a Ukrainian -- were said on Saturday to be "well" by the anti-piracy task force, citing radio contact with the vessel.

The capture added to at least 25 ships now held by ransom-seeking pirates, according to Ecoterra International, an environmentalist group monitoring maritime activity in the region.

In a separate incident on Saturday, Somali pirates captured a Taiwanese fishing boat off the Seychelles, with a crew of 26 including nine Chinese and an unspecified number of Kenyans, Mozambicans and Taiwanese.

In a statement, Taiwan's foreign ministry said that contact was made on Friday with the pirates who made an unspecified ransom demand.

© 2010 AFP

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