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Somali pirates hijack cargo ship in Gulf of Aden

08-06-2010 16:08 BJT

NAIROBI, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Somali pirates hijacked the St Vincent and Grenadines flagged MV Syria Star cargo vessel Thursday in the Gulf of Aden with 24 crew onboard, European Union naval force said.

Naval Force spokesman John Harbour said the pirates boarded the ship and fired shots as it was sailing west in the internationally recommended transit corridor through the Gulf of Aden with a cargo of sugar.

"The Syria Star, deadweight 18,838 tonnes, is flagged to St Vincent and the Grenadines and has a predominantly Syrian crew, with 22 Syrians and 2 Egyptians," Harbour said in a statement early Friday.

He said the vessel reported late Thursday that she was under attack from pirates who had climbed onboard and fired shots at the crew.

Crews have been successfully repelling several attacks, making it harder for pirates to capture ships and earn multi-million-dollar ransoms. But the pirates have responded more violently.

Helicopters were immediately dispatched to the vessel and tried to establish communications with the Syria Star which had stopped in the water, he said.

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