Page last updated at 10:55 GMT, Friday, 10 October 2008 11:55 UK

Pirates seize Somalia-bound ship

File photo of assailants who attacked a cruise ship off the coast of Somalia in 2005
Piracy in the waters near Somalia has surged this year

Pirates have seized a cargo ship sailing from Oman to Somalia, Somali officials have said.

One official said the ship had been seized on Thursday between the Yemeni island of Socotra and Bosasso, Somalia.

Pressure to deal with piracy has grown since pirates seized a Ukrainian ship holding 33 tanks last month.

The Nato military alliance has said it will send warships to combat piracy and help escort aid deliveries off Somalia by the end of the year.

Piracy is rife in the busy shipping lanes near to Somalia's coast and along the Gulf of Aden, where dozens of boats have been hijacked this year.

Somalia has lacked a functioning central government since 1991 and has been afflicted by continual civil strife.

Pirates are still holding the Ukrainian MV Faina and its cargo of tanks, demanding a $20m (11m) ransom for its release.

An official in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region told Reuters news agency that the ship seized late on Thursday was carrying cement and that its crew was made up of Syrians and Somalis.

Life in Somalia's pirate town
18 Sep 08 |  Africa
Country profile: Somalia
18 Jun 08 |  Country profiles


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