Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Saturday, 2 January 2010

Pirates seize second UK-flagged vessel in days


A UK-flagged cargo ship with 25 crew has been seized by pirates off Somalia, media reports say.

The Asian Glory was taken 620 miles (1,000km) off the Horn of Africa nation's coast, the Bulgarian foreign ministry said.

The vessel, which has a multi-national crew, is the second UK-flagged ship hijacked in days, after chemical tanker the St James Park was seized on Monday.

The waters around Somalia are among the most dangerous in the world.

As well as eight Bulgarians, the other nationalities making up the Asian Glory's crew are said to include Ukrainians, Romanians and Indians.

British officials said there were no UK nationals on board the vessel.

The exact time and location of the hijacking are not yet clear.

The 13,000-tonne ship was reportedly transporting cars from Singapore to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

It is estimated the ship could take up to three days to reach the Somali coast, from where pirates usually hold ransom talks.

The St James Park, which has 26 crew from nine different countries, is currently anchored off the Somali coast, where negotiations for its release are expected to start.

Correspondents say the upsurge in piracy in the region is a consequence of the failure to find a solution to Somalia's continuing political disarray.

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Times Online Somali pirates hijack second British-flagged ship - 14 hrs ago
Telegraph Somali pirates seize new British-flagged vessel - 41 hrs ago
AFP via Yahoo! British-flagged ship hijacked off Somalia - 42 hrs ago
Financial TimesSomali pirates hijack UK-flagged ship - 43 hrs ago
ITN UK cargo ship seized by pirates - 44 hrs ago
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