Tuesday, January 25, 2011

EU-NAVFOR: Pirates seize ship with 7 Pinoy seafarers

Pirates attacked a cargo vessel with as many as seven Filipino seafarers off Seychelles last weekend, the European Union's Naval Task Force Somalia said Wednesday (Manila time).

EU-NAVFOR said a skiff with an undetermined number of pirates on board attacked the "MV Beluga Nomination" on January 22.

"There is no information on the condition of the mixed crew of 12 (Polish, Filipino, Russian and Ukrainian) at this time. EU-NAVFOR is monitoring the situation," it said in abulletin posted Wednesday on its website. 

An Associated Press report on Businessweek cited a statement from the ship's German owner Beluga Group that the pirated ship had seven Filipino seafarers.

It said the cargo ship had a Polish captain, two Ukrainians, two Russians and seven from the Philippines.

The EU-NAVFOR added the pirates likely used small arms against the vessel during the attack.

The attack took place in the Indian Ocean, 390 nautical miles north of the Seychelles.

MV Beluga Nomination is an Antiguan- and Barbudan-flagged, German-owned, general cargo vessel that was on passage to Port Victoria in the Seychelles at the time of the attack.

It was registered with the Maritime Security Center (Horn of Africa) and had reported to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations.

The EU-NAVFOR warship at the time of the attack was over 1,000 nautical miles away.

At the time, the warship was waiting to escort a World Food Programme (WFP) vessel delivering vital humanitarian aid to Somalia, which is EU-NAVFOR’s primary task within its mandated mission.

The remainder of the EU-NAVFORs warships were even further away carrying out tasks in the IRTC (Internationally Recognized Transit Corridor), which is their secondary task within the mandated mission.

EU-NAVFOR Somalia – Operation ATALANTA’s main tasks are to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid of the World Food Program (WFP) and vessels of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

It also protects vulnerable vessels in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, deters and disrupts piracy. — LBG/RSJ, GMANews.TV

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