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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 02:28 GMT 03:28 UK
S Korean ship seized off Somalia
Somali pirates
The waters off Somalia are among the most dangerous in the world
Pirates have seized a South Korean fishing boat off the coast of Somalia - the latest in a series of such attacks.

The Dongwon-ho 628, with a crew of 25, was fishing with two other South Korean boats in international waters, when two speedboats landed attackers on board.

US and Dutch naval ships gave chase, but held off when they saw the South Korean crew threatened with guns.

The boat is now in Somali territorial waters, but the Dongwon company says the crew is reported safe.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that eight attackers had boarded the 361-tonne vessel.

The crew of the Dongwon-ho 628 comprises nine Indonesians, eight South Koreans, five Vietnamese and three Chinese.

The boat was 100km (60 miles) off the Somali coast, when it was attacked on Tuesday.

Hijackings and piracy have recently surged off the Somali coastline, with maritime gangs demanding ransom for the safe release of crew.

It is not yet known whether a ransom demand has been made in this case.

The area has become one of the most dangerous in the world for piracy since warlords ousted Somalia's former ruler in 1991 and divided the country amongst themselves.

The International Maritime Bureau has warned ships to stay away from Somali coast because of the attacks. It has recorded 37 attacks since mid-March last year.


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