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Pirates seize two chemical tankers

March 27, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Pirates armed with machine guns pursued and captured a Norwegian chemical tanker off the coast of Somalia, the owners said, less than 24 hours after a smaller Greek-owned vessel was seized in the same area.

The U.S. 5th Fleet, which patrols the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden, confirmed both hijackings and said they occurred in the same area but separate from the gulf, one of the world's busiest sea lanes.

The 23,000-ton Norwegian-owned Bow Asir was seized 250 miles off the Somali coast, said a European Union military spokesman. The 9,000-ton Greek-owned Nipayia, with 19 crew members, was attacked Wednesday about 450 miles off Somalia, the spokesman said.

Norway's shipowners association said the Bow Asir had a crew of 27 with a Russian captain, but the 5th Fleet said there were 23 crew on board.

The cargoes of the chemical tankers were not made public.

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