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Pirates hijack ship, Indians aboard

world Updated: Nov 28, 2008 15:36 IST

AP
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Somali pirates hijacked a chemical tanker on Friday with two British security guards and dozens of Indian crew members on board, two diplomatic sources said.

The ship, flying under a Liberian flag, was hijacked on Friday, according to the diplomats, who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

There were 25 Indians, two Bangladeshis and two British security guards on board, the sources said.

Pirates have become increasingly brazen off the coast of Somalia, an impoverished eastern African nation that has been caught up in an Islamic insurgency and had no functioning government since 1991.

This year there have been 96 pirate attacks and 39 ships hijacked in Somali waters, including this month's seizure of a Saudi supertanker loaded with $100 million worth of crude oil.

Pirates demanding multimillion-dollar ransoms are currently holding 15 ships, with nearly 300 crew.

Warships from Denmark, India, Malaysia, Russia, the US and NATO patrol the vast international maritime corridor off Somalia, escorting some merchant ships and responding to distress calls.