August 20, 2008
Somali pirates strike again
Less than a week after the release of photos of two suspected Somali pirate mother ships operating in the Gulf of Aden, another sizeable international merchant ship has been reported hijacked.
Malaysia's MISC Bhd confirms that armed pirates have seized one of its tankers with 39 crew in the Gulf of Aden.
"MISC regrets to inform that its chemical/palm oil tanker, MT Bunga Melati Dua, has been hijacked by unknown pirates at 1409 GMT (10.09pm) on Aug 19," it said in a statement, adding that the incident took place in the Gulf of Aden between Somalia and Yemen.
An international terrorism task force has reportedly dispatched a warship to intercept the 1997-built, 32,000 dwt tanker, which is heading toward Somalia territorial waters. In June, the UN Security Council voted to allow international warships to enter Somali waters to combat piracy.
Last week the International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Center said that intelligence sources had revealed that there are now "two suspicious trawlers in the Gulf of Aden believed to be pirate mother vessels looking to attack ships with the intent to hijack."
It described the vessels as "long white, Russian made stern trawlers with names BURUM OCEAN or ARENA or ATHENA.
Suspected pirate mother ships