- Armed Somali pirates off the Gulf of Aden have seized the second freighter in the early hours today, NATO's Maritime Component Command Headquarters in Northwood, England has confirmed. The latest hijacking of Lebanese-owned vessel has put the toll at four in less than two days.
The two hijackings Tuesday follow the killing by US Navy SEAL of three pirates who were holding an American ship captain hostage.
Maritime officials said pirates on four skiffs seized the 5,000-ton MV Sea Horse, a Lebanese-owned vessel.
Earlier today, pirates hijacked a Greek-owned bulk carrier, the MV Irene, in the Gulf of Aden. The crew of the Greek carrier was thought to be unhurt, and ships have been warned to stay clear of the area for fear of further attacks, the security center said.
NATO officials said another ship, the Liberian-flagged Safmarine Asia narrowly escaped on Tuesday after coming under fire from pirates in several small boats.
Local reports said a NATO helicopter has been dispatched from a Canadian warship to investigate what is happening to the merchant vessel, flagged in Saint-Vincent and the Grenadines.
NATO has an ongoing anti-piracy mission off Somalia called Operation Allied Protector. The mission involves four ships covering more than 1 million square miles.
A US led international naval task force, Combined Task Force-151, also is patrolling in the region.
Armed pirates attacked the US flagged Maersk Alabama last week seizing its captain, Richard Phillips, and held him hostage on a lifeboat after their attempt to hijack the ship failed.
Piracy is rife in the Horn of Africa state which has been without an effective government since 1991.
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