MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somali pirates have seized a Mongolian-flagged bulk carrier off the coast of Oman, the European Union Naval Force for Somalia (EU Navfor) said on Thursday.
EU Navfor said the pirates hijacked MV Hoang Son Sun about 520 nautical miles southeast of the port of Muscat.
“The 22,835-tonne bulk carrier, which is Mongolian flagged and Vietnamese-owned, has a crew of 24 Vietnamese nationals. No further details of the attack are known at this stage,” EU Navfor said in an online statement.
EU Navfor reported the ship was not registered with the Maritime Security Centre for the Horn of Africa, and had not reported to the UK Maritime Trade Operation. Both help vessels keep contact with a flotilla of warships patrolling the lucrative waters linking Europe with Asia.
Pirates are raking in tens of millions of dollars in booty from seizing merchant ships in the region, despite the efforts by foreign navies to clamp down on the attacks.
A report this month said piracy worldwide was costing the global economy $7-12 billion a year, with Somali sea-bandits in particular driving up the cost of Shipping through the Indian Ocean.
EU Navfor said Somali pirates were currently holding 30 vessels and at least 724 crew hostage off the shores of the anarchic Horn of Africa nation. Somalia has been mired in conflict for two decades.
According to a NATO maritime security website, three other vessels escaped attack in the area between the Gulf of Oman and the Gulf of Aden since Wednesday.