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Somali pirates seize Turkish ship with 8 Ukrainians in crew

18.12.2008 Source: en.rian.ru

Eight Ukrainians are among the crewmembers on board a Turkish ship captured by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

The Turkish-owned, Antigua-flagged Bosphorus Prodigy was captured by Somali pirates on Tuesday, according to a report from the Ukrainian Embassy in Kenya. The report was confirmed by a British military attache in Nairobi and the Turkish Embassy in Kenya.

The dry cargo ship, which was built in 1985, is owned by Isko Marine Shipping Company and has eight Ukrainians and three Turks on board.

So far there have been no demands for ransom from the pirates.

Ukraine's embassy in Ankara and consulate in Istanbul have been ordered to take the incident under control and contact the ship owners to secure the release of the crewmembers as quickly as possible, the Foreign Ministry statement said.

Pirates have been increasingly active in the waters off east Africa, where over 120 ships have been attacked so far this year, with around 40 vessels seized.

The French oil company Total said on Tuesday that a tug and unladen barge chartered by it had also been seized. They were bound from Yemen to Malaysia.

A Ukrainian-owned ship, the Faina, carrying 33 T-72 tanks and other heavy weaponry, was boarded by Somali pirates on September 25 and has not been released. The crew comprises 17 Ukrainians, three Russians and one Latvian.

The navies of at least 10 countries, including Russia, are involved in anti-piracy operations off the coast of the East African nation.

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