A general cargo ship has been attacked and hijacked off the Somali coast. In a cruel twist of fate, or wicked irony on the part of her attackers, the successful hi-jacking comes a year after a failed attempt which resulted in the death of a Somali guard.
The 3340 grt vessel, mv VICTORIA, was carrying a cargo of sugar from Mumbai (Bombay) donated by Denmark, bound for Somalia. The cargo had been donated as humanitarian aid.
The Kenyan Seafarers' Assistance Programme said pirates boarded her from three small craft and then took the vessel north towards Hobyo region, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation reports.
Jordanian authorities said contact with the Jordan-flagged ship was lost early on Sunday when she was 35 miles off the shore.
The ship, built in 1979, carries a crew of 12. It is believed the crew come from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Tanzania.
This is the second time mv VICTORIA has been attacked by pirates off Somalia, the previous occasion being exactly a year ago when a failed attempt at boarding was made outside the Somali port of Merka after she unloaded 4000 tons of food aid. In the incident a Somali guard died from wounds he received fending off the attackers after coming to the ship's aid following an SOS.
The waters off Somalia are notorious for pirate attacks, often the ships and crew are held for ransom. This, if it proves to be the case, will the third such hijacking and ransom demand this year.
Many of the vessels attacked by pirates are involved in humanitarian missions.
Denmark and Jordan are co-ordinating efforts to locate the missing vessel, media reports say.
According to the ships database Equasis, the vessel is operated by a United Arab Emirates company, Marwan Shipping and Trading Co.