August 2, 2010 / 9:12 AM / 10 years ago

Somali pirates hijack Panama-flagged cargo ship: EU

Pirates leave the merchant vessel MV Faina (not shown) for the Somali shore, October 9. REUTERS/Jason R. Zalasky/U.S. Navy/Handout

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Pirates hijacked the Panama-flagged MV Suez cargo vessel with 23 crew on board early on Monday, the European Union naval force said.

EU Navfor said in a statement that the 17,300 tonne ship carrying cement bags came under small arms fire while sailing in a recommended shipping lane. It said the crew were from Egypt, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India.

The London-headquartered International Maritime Bureau said its piracy reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur logged a total of 196 pirate incidents globally from January to June 2010.

There were 31 successful hijackings and 27 of those were off the coast of Somalia or in the Gulf of Aden.

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