Tanker seized by pirates
Italian ship attacked by Somalis in Arabian Sea
Pirates have taken control of a chemical tanker with 18 crew on board shortly after it set sail from the UAE.
The ship's owner Marnavi said on its website that the 16,631-tonne tanker Enrico Ievoli had been attacked and hijacked by pirates off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea during the early hours of yesterday.
"The company has been informed that the vessel was under pirate attack while navigating off Oman's coast," it said. "The master alerted the Italian Coastguard headquarters."
The crew consists of six Italian, five Ukrainian and seven Indian sailors.
The ship, which was carrying 15,750 tonnes of caustic soda, had set sail from Fujairah and was heading for the Mediterranean Sea when it was attacked.
Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said yesterday he was closely following the incident.
The seizure comes just days after Somali pirates released the Italian-owned tanker Savina Caylyn, which was hijacked in February in the Indian Ocean with a crew of 17 Indians and five Italians on board.
One of the pirates said they had received a multi-million dollar ransom. This has not been formally confirmed but military action was avoided at the request of the hostages' families.
The issue of Somali pirates is a major concern as attacks increase and spread further afield.
The UAE's Foreign Minister described it as one of the world's biggest challenges ahead of a conference on the issue in Dubai earlier this year.
HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: "Maritime piracy is quickly becoming one of the most threatening challenges of the 21st century.
"It hurts not only global trade and commerce, but has a damaging impact on security and stability in many regions."