Somali Prates Seize Danish Vessel with 21 US Crewmen

Back in Business: Somali pirates on Wednesday are reported to have snatched control of a Danish-owned container ship with 21 American crew members on board, say media reports citing sources ranging from maritime groups to the US Navy.

Identified as the Maersk Alabama, the vessel, was captured by the pirates in the Indian Ocean some 650 km from the Somali capital, reported Al Jazeera citing Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme said.

At the moment all crew members are reported safe, say media reports even as US authorities have sought details of the Americans on board and are said to be carting details of a response to what is the first pirate attack on US citizens in recent memory.

The raid on the 17,000 tonne Danish vessel comes barely two days after armed men took control of a British-owned ship, taking the total number of ships seized since the weekend to five.

The spike in pirate related crime in and around the Gulf of Aden is now forcing companies to navigate away from this profitable route that connects the southern and northern hemispheres.

Last year alone, Somali pirates seized dozens of vessels close to the Somali coastline and took hundreds of sailors hostage only to trade them in for huge ransom payments they demanded.

Following the brazen seizures, several navies took to the region to provide security to passing vessels, the ploy brought a brief respite in the pirate activity during the first three months this year.

Meanwhile, Seven Somalis accused of firing on a German ship off the coast of Yemen have been handed over to authorities in Kenya where they will be judged, Berlin said on Wednesday.

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