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World

Somali pirates hijack German ship in Indian Ocean

Somali pirates have seized a 20,000-ton German container carrier in the Indian Ocean, a Kenya-based maritime group said on Sunday, April 4.

pirates as they are transported to the German frigate Rheinland-Pfalz after being detained by the German navy ship in the Gulf of Aden

Germany detained nine Somali pirates in March

"The ship was taken yesterday far out at sea, around 400 nautical miles (740 km) from the Somali coast, between Kenya and the Seychelles," said Andrew Mwangura, of the East African Seafarers Assistance Program.

"We believe the German ship has 24 crew on board," Mwangura said. "We're trying to establish their identities and the name of the vessel."

More than 100 ships were attacked last year by pirates off the coast of Somalia. The Gulf of Aden is a vital transit route leading to the Suez Canal, where roughly 30 percent of the world's oil is transported.

NATO, the EU and other countries, including Russia and China, have deployed warships to fight piracy and protect the lucrative multi-billion dollar shipping lanes from the heavily armed pirates who use high-powered speedboats to launch their attacks and kidnap crew members.

In March, a German navy frigate detained nine pirates for attacking a merchant vessel in the Gulf of Aden and later turned them over to Kenya for legal prosecution.

Although most pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden are from Somalia, a former Italian colony located in the horn of Africa, the nation lacks a functioning legal system to stage a proper trial.

tt/ca, afp/rtr

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