(Updates with new ship seized)
Dec 29 (Reuters) - Somali pirates seized a chemical tanker and a cargo vessel on Monday, underlining the continued risk to shipping in some of the world’s busiest maritime trade routes.
Pirates seized the British-flagged chemical tanker St James Park in the Gulf of Aden and the Panama-registered cargo ship Navios Apollon, taking the number of vessels they hold to more than 10, maritime officials said.
They released a Singapore-flagged container ship, pirates and maritime officials said. Pirates told Reuters they had received a $4 million ransom for the Singaporean vessel Kota Wajar and freed the ship with its crew on Monday. The Kota Wajar was seized on Oct. 15 some 300 miles north of Seychelles.
Here is a list of ships under the control of Somali pirates:
* WIN FAR 161: Taiwanese tuna boat, seized on April 6, 2009.
* AL KHALIQ - Seized on Oct. 22, 2009. The Panamanian-registered ship carried 26 crew, 24 of them Indian. It is owned and operated by SNP Shipping of Mumbai. The 38,305 dwt bulk carrier was seized west of the Seychelles.
* THAI UNION 3 - Seized on Oct. 29, 2009. Pirates on two skiffs boarded the tuna fishing boat with 23 Russians, two Filipinos and two Ghanaians on board.
* FILITSA: Seized on Nov. 10, 2009. The 23,709 dwt cargo ship had a crew including three Greek officers and the rest Filipinos. The Marshall Islands-flagged ship had been heading from Kuwait to Durban, South Africa, when it was attacked 500 miles northeast of the Seychelles.
* THERESA VIII: Seized on Nov. 16, 2009. The chemical tanker was hijacked in the south Somali Basin, northwest of the Seychelles. The 22,294 dwt tanker had a crew of 28 North Koreans. The captain of the tanker died from gunshot wounds sustained during the hijack, a Somali pirate said.
* MARAN CENTAURUS: Seized Nov 29, 2009: The tanker was sailing from Kuwait to the Gulf of Mexico when it was seized near the Seychelles. The tanker had nine Greeks, two Ukrainians, one Romanian and 16 Filipinos on board and was carrying around two million barrels of crude oil.
* SHAHBAIG: Seized Dec. 6, 2009: Pirates seized the Pakistani-flagged fishing vessel, with a crew of 29 on board, thought to be Pakistani, 320 miles east of Socotra.
* NESEYA: Seized on Dec. 18, 2009. The Indian dhow with 13 Indian crew members was seized off the coast of Kismayo in southern Somalia.
* AL MAHMOUD 2: Reported on Dec. 28, 2009. The cargo vessel left Yemen’s southern port of Aden on Dec. 18, with 15 sailors and a captain on board — all Yemenis.
* ST JAMES PARK: Seized on Dec. 28, 2009. The UK-flagged 13,924 tonnes (dwt) chemical tanker with a chemical used to make plastics when it sent a distress signal from the Gulf of Aden. It’s 26 crew members were from Bulgaria, Georgia, India, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.
* NAVIOS APOLLON: Seized on Dec. 28, 2009: The Panama-flagged bulk cargo vessel was seized about 800 miles off the Somali coast, north of the Seychelles. The vessel was sailing from the U.S. to India with a cargo of fertiliser. The Greek management company confirmed there were 19 crew.
— There were 324 pirate attacks worldwide in the year to Oct. 20, with 37 vessels hijacked and 639 hostages taken. In the same period in 2008 there were 194 attacks, 36 ships hijacked and 631 hostages, according to the latest figures from the ICC International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB).
— Of the 324 incidents, attacks by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden and the east coast of Somalia numbered 174, with 35 vessels hijacked and 587 crew taken hostage.
— Nearly 20,000 ships pass through the Gulf of Aden each year, heading to and from the Suez Canal. Sources: Reuters/Ecoterra International/International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre/Lloyds List/Inquirer.net