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Page last updated at 16:14 GMT, Thursday, 14 August 2008 17:14 UK

Somali pirates 'seize Thai ship'

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Pirates have hijacked a Thai ship off the coast of Somalia, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has said.

The IMB's piracy reporting centre told Spain's EFE news agency that the cargo ship was seized in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday with 28 people on board.

Northern Somalia is near to a major shipping route connecting the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

An IMB official said he hoped the UN and coalition forces would help stop escalating piracy in the area.

On Wednesday, the IMB warned ships sailing in the Gulf of Aden to take precautionary measures against two suspicious trawlers.

Pirate attacks against ships and yachts sailing close to Somalia have surged recently.

Foreigners are frequent targets, as they can be exchanged for large ransoms.

Last month, a Japanese-owned ship carrying 20 Philippine sailors was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden.

Somalia has not had a functioning national government since 1991 and has suffered continuing civil strife.

In June, the UN Security Council voted to allow countries to send warships into Somalia's waters to tackle piracy.



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