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World Briefing / Somalia

N. Korean ship escapes pirates

September 16, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Somali pirates tried but failed to hijack a North Korean cargo ship when crew members fought back with Molotov cocktails and sped away, a maritime official said.

Separately, other Somali pirates released a Greek-managed ship with 22 Philippine crewmen after five months in captivity, officials in the Philippines said.

The North Korean ship was adrift off the Somali coast near Mogadishu for engine work when the crew saw 10 pirates approaching in two speedboats, said Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Malaysia.

The North Korean ship immediately started its engine and moved away, and the captain called the bureau for help when the pirates, dressed in military clothing began firing rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, Choong said.

The crew fought back with improvised fire bombs. The crew also fired distress rocket flares at the pirates, and the ship escaped "after the captain increased speed," Choong said.

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