UpdateHijacked British chemical tanker was carrying styrene monomer

29 December 2009 17:02  [Source: ICIS news]

(Releads, updates and amends travel direction in second paragraph due to updated information) 

LONDON (ICIS news)--A British chemical tanker hijacked in the Gulf of Aden was understood to be carrying a cargo of styrene monomer (SM) and ethylene dichloride (EDC), an industry source said on Tuesday.

The St James Park was captured on 28 December en route to Thailand from Tarragona, Spain.

Meanwhile a Singaporean-flagged container ship was released on the same day after a ransom was paid, according to reports.

The MV Kota Wajar was originally hijacked on 15 October but is now headed for Mombassa, Kenya, sources said.

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 International Maritime Bureau (IMB) statistics. A total of 860 crew members were held at one point, the IMB report said.

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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