British chemical tanker hijacked in the Gulf of Aden - IMB

29 December 2009 11:15  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--A British chemical tanker travelling westbound from Thailand to Spain was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said on Tuesday.

The St James Park was captured on 28 December but the cargo was unknown, said IMB spokesperson Pottengal Mukundan.

“We do not have all the details at this time but it is disappointing that Somali pirates have been able to convert an attack into a hijacking in the transit area,” Mukundan said.

“The last hijacking in the Gulf of Aden was on 8 July 2009 and while the attacks have continued the naval forces have been doing an excellent job of protecting vessels transiting the region,” Mukundan added.

Twelve vessels are currently being held off the Somali coast, with approximately 270 crew members.

In 2009 there were 214 attacks and 47 hijackings off the Somali coast and in the Indian and Arabian Ocean, according to IMB statistics. A total of 860 crew members were held at one point, the IMB report said.

“This is a significant increase from the amount of pirate activity seen in the region in 2008,” said Mukundan.  

The lawless state of Somalia provides pirates with an effective base from which to operate and this problem should be dealt with, the IMB said.

Somalia has no central government and armed militias have often been involved in supporting piracy in what has become regarded as one of the most dangerous stretches of water in the world.

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By: Dan Horlock
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