A maritime official says pirates have hijacked a Philippines chemical tanker with 23 crew members near Somalia.
Noel Choong of the International Maritime Bureau says the ship was heading to Asia when it was seized on Monday in the Gulf of Aden by pirates armed with automatic weapons and RPGs.
The bureau has issued an urgent warning to ships to take extra measures to deter pirates. No further details were immediately available.
This brought the number of attacks this year in the African waters to 83, with 33 ships hijacked. Choong says 12 remain in the hands of pirates along with more than 200 crew members.
The attack comes despite increased international cooperation to crack down on pirates in the Gulf of Aden.