Pirates Hijack Four More Ships off Somalia Coast
UPDATE: Pirates have seized four more ships off the coast of Somalia.
Maritime officials said the MV Irene EM, a 35,000-ton Greek-owned bulk carrier, was taken along with up to 23 Filipino crew members.
A Lebanese-owned cargo ship MV Sea Horse was also seized, as well as two Egyptian fishing boats believed to be carrying 36 fishermen.
The latest attacks follow the dramatic rescue of American Captain Richard Phillips whose ship the Maersk Alabama was captured by pirates.
In a dramatic rescue, U.S. Navy SEALs shot three pirates dead Sunday night to free Phillips after a five-day standoff.
Phillips and his 19-man crew will reunite in the Kenyan port of Mombasa on Wednesday and fly from there to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on a chartered flight, according to the shipping company Maersk. They will be reunited with loved ones at Andrews in a private reception area.
While the rescue of the US captain received wide media coverage, at least 18 foreign ships and more than 250 hostages have been taken over the last few weeks.
After a winter lull, the epidemic of piracy in the Indian Ocean has rapidly re-emerged in recent days. Various gangs along Somalia's coast are holding 18 foreign ships – including five taken this week – and more than 250 hostages. Success last year, when they netted tens of millions of pounds in ransoms, has allowed them to invest in new boats and equipment, enabling the pirates to attack far out to sea.
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