Pirates off Somalia’s coast have hijacked a chemical tanker with a North Korean crew, European naval forces reported.
The MV Theresa VIII, owned by the Virgin Islands and operated from Singapore, was seized in the Indian Ocean on Monday, according to a statement from the European Union Naval Force Somalia, whose charge includes combating maritime piracy.
Theresa VIII, carrying a crew of 28 North Koreans, was heading for Mombasa, Kenya, but was hijacked in the south Somali Basin, about 180 miles northwest of the Seychelles, the statement said.
The ship was turned around and is now heading north.
Somalia’s transitional government, which has a tenuous grip on power, has been unable to stop pirates, many of whom are based in the country’s port cities. That has prompted Western countries to step up maritime patrols.
Pirate attacks off the coast of east Africa have significantly increased this year, according to the International Maritime Bureau, which monitors shipping crimes. But successful attacks have declined as a result of the strong presence of international monitors.