Pirates may have seized an oil tanker and another ship carrying food to Somalia at the weekend in the latest of a series of hijackings off the lawless Horn of Africa nation, according to a maritime official. "They say two more ships have been hijacked, we are still trying to know where in Somalia they were seized," said Andrew Mwangura, of the Kenyan branch of the global Seafarers organisation representing the maritime industry.
Mwangura told Reuters he was informed of the possible hijacking by colleagues in Dubai where both ships had embarked on their trips. "The ship that was laden with oil was just passing Somalia, and the other one was carrying foodstuff destined for Somalia," he told.
Details were vague, but Mwangura said one of the ships was registered in Nicaragua. He could not say how many crew members were on board the boats.
The Indian Ocean waters off Somalia are among the most dangerous in the world, with an epidemic of attacks and hijackings in recent months.
The most high-profile seizures have been of U.N. World Food Programme ships carrying aid to Somalia. They were both released - one after a 100-day standoff at sea.
About two dozen hijackings and attacks have been reported since mid-March, Reuters reports.