Somali gunmen hijacked a Dutch-owned ship as it traveled from Kenya’s Mombasa port to Romania in the latest act of piracy off the lawless Horn of Africa nation’s coast, a maritime official said on Tuesday.
The MV Amiya Scan, managed by the Dutch Reider Shipping BV, was seized along with some nine Russian and Filipino crew members on Sunday while it passed through the Gulf of Aden, said Andrew Mwangura, director of the Seafarers Assistance Programme.
“Unfortunately we don’t know where she is right now … there’s been no ransom demand as of yet,” Mwangura told Reuters by telephone. He said the cargo ship was on its way to Romania and was flying under a Panamanian flag.
Officials from five Arctic coastal countries will meet in Greenland this week to discuss how to carve up the Arctic Ocean, which could hold up to one-quarter of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas reserves.
Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States are squabbling over much of the Arctic seabed and Denmark has called them together for talks in its self-governing province to avert a free-for-all for the region’s resources.
Russia angered the other Arctic countries last year by planting a flag on the seabed under the North Pole in a headline-grabbing gesture that some criticized as a stunt.
Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota has rejected claims the South African navy only has enough qualified crew to operate one of its new state-of-the-art submarines.
“I don’t know what is the source of the information that we can only operate one submarine… that is absolutely fallacious,” he told a media briefing at parliament.
“Each one of the submarines we’ve got has a full complement of personnel.
“How will they be at sea, all three of them, if we only had the ability to operate only one of them?” Lekota asked.
Crews had been in training even as the submarines were being built over the past few years.
Pirates on Friday released a Jordanian-flagged cargo ship from captivity off the Somali coast where it was held for nearly a week, officials said. “The ship was released after the pirates held talks with the local elders in Haradere town and it is now sailing to Mogadishu,” the ship’s contractor, Yusuf Moalim Ahmed, told AFP. “I am not ready to give further details on negotiations, but I can confirm that the local elders helped in the release of the ship,” he added.
The vessel, the MV Victoria, was seized Saturday and taken to Haradere, a coastal village around 500 kilometers north of the capital Mogadishu.
The Navy says a fire aboard the USS George Washington aircraft carrier has left one sailor with minor burns and 23 others with heat stress.
The Navy said Friday that sailors extinguished the fire several hours after flames were spotted Thursday near the auxiliary boiler room and air conditioning and refrigeration space in the rear of the nuclear powered ship. It says the fire spread through a passageway for cables.
It says the carrier’s propulsion plant was not damaged and the fire did not threaten the safety of the ship’s nuclear reactor.
US and Philippine forces will carry out joint naval exercises off Palawan, the closest major Philippine island to the disputed Spratlys chain in the South China Sea, a report said Saturday.
The joint exercises will begin Monday, Vice Admiral William Douglas Crowder, commander of the US seventh fleet flagship the USS Blue Ridge, told the Philippine Star newspaper.
About four US ships will sail to Palawan, southwest of Manila, for the combined naval war games involving about a thousand US and Filipino sailors, the newspaper said.
A report from the International Maritime Bureau in Malaysia indicates pirate attacks are increasing for the first time in more than a decade.
The bureau’s report says pirate attacks have gone up 20 percent around the globe in the past year, The Daily Telegraph reported Sunday.
It is reported the growing threat from the maritime marauders is partially a result of Somalia’s flailing legal system and ongoing conflict in Nigeria.
Nigeria has ranked No. 1 for piracy, with India and the Gulf of Aden coming second, the bureau said.
All has been plain sailing for South Africa’s third submarine, the SAS Queen Modjadji, which arrived at the naval base in Simonstown on Thursday.
The submarine is the last of the naval vessels, bought in a multibillion-rand deal, to be delivered to South Africa.
It sailed in under escort of the SA Navy supply ship, the SAS Drakensberg.
The SAS Queen Modjadji was welcomed by her sister submarine, the SAS Charlotte Mxeke, two of the country’s frigates, and warships from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.