Coast Guard Heads to Hijacked Ship

MOGADISHU, Somalia – Coast guard officials headed Wednesday toward a ship hijacked by pirates two days earlier after the vessel docked at a northern Somali port, an official said.

Four Russian and five Filipino crew members were on board the MV Amiya Scan, along with an unknown number of pirates. The ship's Dutch owner, Reider Shipping BV, said it was in contact with the pirates but declined to comment on the captors' demands out of concern for the crew's safety.

The ship, seized Monday off the Somali coast, arrived in Bargal, 710 miles (1,150 kilometers) northeast of Mogadishu, on Wednesday, said Ali Abdi Aware, foreign minister of the semiautonomous region of Puntland.

The MV Amiya Scan had been chartered by Danish company to carry a decommissioned oil platform and was sailing under a Panamanian flag.

It was among 24 ships hijacked this year in the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

Somalia's 1,880-mile-long (3,025 kilometers) coast – Africa's longest – is infested with pirates and the lawless country is awash with weapons. The transitional government formed in 2004 with U.N. help comes under daily attack from Islamic insurgents.

Pirates typically seize ships within Somalia's 12-mile territorial limit, where foreign navies patrolling the area are forbidden to go by international maritime law.

Since Somalia does not have a navy, France and the United States are drafting a U.N. resolution that would allow international naval vessels into Somali waters.

Somali officials say foreign countries encourage piracy by paying ransoms for hijacked ships that can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"As always, we are calling on the owners of the ship not to pay any ransom to the pirates, as that would only encourage criminals," Aware said in a special Cabinet meeting to discuss the hijacking.

This wasn't DH's ship personally, but whatever.  It's still cool. 

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