Monday May 20, 2013
Somali Pirates Suspected in Chinese Cargo Ship SeizureSalem-News.com
A passing aircraft spotted only three people aboard.
(NAIROBI, Kenya) - A cargo ship linked to China has been captured near Seychelles, presumably by Somali Pirates, according to Ecoterra Intl.
MV Rak Afrikana is a general cargo ship with a deadweight of 7,561 tonnes. She was hijacked at 6:30 this morning, 11 April 2010, approximately 280 nautical miles west of Seychelles.
Mariners in the area were alerted by the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme. Its head, Andrew Mwangura, said ships should avoid the seas around where the merchant vessel was taken for the next two days.
"This area will remain high risk for the next 24-48 hours as weather conditions continue to be conducive to small boat operations," he said.
The European Union naval force confirmed that pirates have hijacked the cargo ship west of the island nation of the Seychelles.
Atalanta spokesman John Harbour said he did not know the nationalities of the crew members on board the Rak Afrikana, AP reports.
An EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol Aircraft spotted the MV and reported to see only 8 persons (3 of them possible pirates) and several fuel barrels on board. ITS Scirocco from CTF 508 is now heading towards the position to investigate, an EU NAVFOR statement says, because the vessel has currently stopped due to engine problems - around 280 nautical miles (520 kilometres) west of the Seychelles.
The captured vessel flies a flag of convenience* from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and has as registered owner Rak Africana Shipping LTD based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with an office in the Seychelles, while industry sources say the beneficial owner is from China. Al Sinbad Shipping & Marine from Ras al Khaimah (UAE) serves as manager. No information was available about the route, destination or the nature of the ship's cargo.
It is reported that the crew consists of 23 Chinese nationals, but the actual crew list has not been provided yet, and the crew is not covered by an ITF agreement.
China has been quietly moving into the African and Middle East economies in recent years, and those ambitions are becoming increasingly clear, with the engagement of China's expanded blue water fleet.
* According to Wikipedia, a ship is said to be flying a flag of convenience if it is registered in a foreign country "for purposes of reducing operating costs or avoiding government regulations".
To learn more visit: Flag of convenience - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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