Somali pirates today captured a Thai bulk carrier with its 27 crew members in the Arabian Sea, a maritime official said.
The Thor Nexus was seized in the early hours while on its way to Bangladesh from the United Arab Emirates. All its crew members are Thai, said Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme.
Mwangura said the vessel was taken some 350 nautical east of Salala port, but the nature of its cargo was still unknown.
According to martime watchdog Ecoterra International, Somali pirates are currently holding at least 40 foreign vessels and nearly 700 seamen.
Despite the presence of foreign warhips patrolling the waters off the war-wracked Horn of Africa state, the pirates have continued to seize ships and rake in huge ransoms.
Observers have argued that ending the piracy problem lies in resolving Somalia's rotracted civil war which erupted in 1991 with the ouster of president Mohamed Siad Barre.