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CURRENT ISSUE

ARM MERCHANT SHIPS?
Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates?

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available
Professional armed security teams should be hired
No guns on merchant ships, ever

July 8, 2009

Somali pirates hijack Turkish bulker

Turkey's Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim said today that two Turkish frigates are following a Turkish-flagged bulker held by Somali pirates.

Istanbul-based Horizon Shipping said pirates in speed boats had surrounded the Horizon I in the Gulf of Aden at about 0530 GMT.

Three attackers managed to board the 1980-built, 21,630 gt bulk carrier which en route from Saudi Arabia to Jordanwith 23 Turkish crew members on board earlier on Wednesday. The ship was enroute to Jordan from Saudi Arabia. and sailing in the security corridor of the Gulf of Aden. The attack took place despite unfavorable monsoon season weather conditions.

"Somali pirates boarded the ship, rendered the crew ineffective and took control of the cargo ship," Transportation Minister Yildirim told a press conference in Istanbul. He said the frigates Gediz and Gaziantep were closely following the bulker, which was headed for Somalia's notorious pirate haven of Eyl.

Ecoterra, an environmentalist organization with a presence in Somalia, says that reports from Puntland indicate that two of the five hijackers on the HORIZON 1 are injured--one of them seriously--after they wre fired on during the attack, allegedly by forces from an Indian naval vessel. Thus far there is no confirmation of this report. Ecoterra says the hijacked vessel is making only 5 knots because of heavy seas.


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