Times (UK): The battle with pirates operating off the coast of Somalia grew yesterday when raiders seized two more ships but lost one of their own in an uneven firefight with the Indian Navy. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) described the situation yesterday as “out of control”.
The surge in hijackings came as Saudi Arabia confirmed that a ransom demand had been made for the freeing of the Sirius Star supertanker, seized at the weekend with her crew of 25 and a cargo of oil worth $100 million (£65 million).
Two more vessels – a Thai fishing boat with a crew of 16, and a bulk carrier, believed to be Greek, with an unknown number of people aboard – were seized by pirates in the Gulf of Aden yesterday, bringing the total to nine vessels in 12 days.
Late on Tuesday night the Indian frigate Tabar destroyed the raiders’ “mother ship” after coming under attack from pirates firing rocket-propelled grenades, the Indian Navy said. The confrontation was the first involving one of the vessels used by the pirates to extend their range. Shipping groups said that the loss of a vessel did not mean that the pirates’ activities would be curtailed. “The situation is already out of control,” said Noel Choong, head of the piracy reporting centre at the IMB in Kuala Lumpur. “With no strong deterrent, low risk to the pirates and high returns, the attacks will continue.”
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