A cargo vessel operated by an Iranian firm has been hijacked off the Somali coast, the US Navy confirmed Tuesday, in the latest seizure by pirates operating out of the African country.
The vessel was flying a Hong Kong flag and was operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines when it was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, said Lieutenant Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the US US Navy Fifth Fleet in Bahrain.
There was no information about the status of the crew, its cargo or where it was headed, but Christensen said pirated ships typically head to Somalia.
A Saudi Arabian supertanker was hijacked and was anchored near the Somali port of Harardhere on Monday. The tanker Sirius Star, which was sailing under a Liberian flag, was seized Saturday by Somali pirates 450 nautical miles southeast of the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa.
Ship owner Vela International, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian oil company Saudi Aramco, said in a statement that the ship was carrying a full load of crude oil when it was seized.
The Sirius Star, which is 330 metres long, can carry up to 2 million barrels of oil at about a value of $100 million.