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Pirates capture two ships with German crew in as many days

Somali pirates have seized two ships off the Kenyan coast in as many days, both with Germans on board. The German Shipowners' Association has responded by calling for tougher action against pirates.

The liquid gas tanker York

The first hijacked ship has a German captain

Somali pirates have taken control of a German freight ship, making it the second foreign vessel to be captured in the region in as many days.

A German army spokesperson confirmed Sunday that the vessel Beluga Fortune, owned by German shipping company Beluga-Reederei, had been seized about 1,200 miles (1,930 kilometers) east of Mombasa, Kenya.

The ship was headed from the United Arab Emirates to South Africa, according to the Bremen-based shipping company.

The vessel contained at least two German citizens, according to reports from German news agency dpa. This episode of piracy comes a day after the hijacking of the liquid gas tanker York. On board that ship are 16 crew members and a German captain.

Somali pirates pose continued threat

German shipowners' association VDR has demanded stronger protection for ships in the region.

"Piracy in the Indian Ocean and in the Gulf of Aden is and continues to pose a threat to our crews," said VDR's chief executive Ralf Nagel. Nagel said that over the past two years an average of 400 sailors of various nationalities have been held hostage by pirates.

Of the 289 pirate attacks this year to the end of September, 126 were committed by Somali pirates, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

Author: David Levitz (AFP, AP, dpa)

Editor: Martin Kuebler

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