14 other ships, 260 from crews captured

Associated Press / April 9, 2009
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The International Maritime Bureau says 260 crew members on 14 hijacked ships are being held off the coast of Somalia, not including the US-flagged ship seized yesterday - the Maersk Alabama and its crew of 20 US nationals.

The other ships include:

Bulk carrier African Sanderling and its 21 Filipino crewmen, which was seized in October.

Turkish tanker Karagol, seized in November and carrying 4,500 tons of chemicals and 14 Turkish personnel.

Liberian-flagged MV Biscaglia, seized in late November, with 30 crewmen on board.

Greek-owned MV Saldanha, and its 22 crew members seized in February.

Panama-registered, Greek-owned Nipayia, with 18 crewmen, seized in March.

St. Vincent flagged, Greek-owned cargo ship Titan, with 24 crewmen, seized in March.

Bahamian-registered, Norwegian-owned Bow Asir, with 27 crewmen, also seized in March.

Organizations tracking global piracy trends said Somalia in 2008 recorded the largest number of attacks in recent years. The most prominent of the hijackings were:

Saudi supertanker Sirius Star, which was hijacked in November and released in January. The pirates at the time reportedly received $3 million to release the tanker. They had asked for $25 million. Five of the Somali pirates drowned with their share of the ransom money after their small boat capsized during a storm.

Ukrainian freighter MV Faina, which was hijacked in September with 20 crew members, was released in February after pirates holding the ship said they received $3.2 million in ransom. The ransom was paid after protracted negotiations, which saw Ukrainian relatives of the crew raise funds because they thought their government was not doing enough.

There are fewer than 200 US-flagged vessels in international waters, said Larry Howard, chair of the Global Business and Transportation Department at SUNY Maritime College in New York.