Somali pirates seize crew, ship

NAIROBI - Somali pirates have captured a Panama-flagged bulk ship with its crew of 21 from the Philippines, a regional maritime group said and a European naval patrol force in the region confirmed yesterday.

Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based East Africa Seafarers' Assistance Programme said the ship, MV Voc Daisy, was taken in the early hours of yesterday, some 190miles southeast of the Omani port of Salalah.

He said the ship had been sailing from the United Arab Emirates to an unspecified port on the Suez Canal. The European Union naval patrol force in the region confirmed the seizure of the ship on its website.

The force said the MC Voc Daisy has a capacity of 47183 dead weight tonnes. It was not immediately clear what it was transporting.

Maritime experts say Somali pirates have stepped attacks in recent days, largely due to good weather that is conducive to their operations.

Three Thai fishing vessels were seized over the weekend and several unsuccessful attacks have been carried out since then. - Reuters