Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pirates seize Kuwaiti oil tanker off Oman: EU

By AFP March 28, 2011

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Pirates armed with rocket-propelled grenades on Monday hijacked a Kuwaiti oil tanker carrying 29 sailors including 17 Pakistanis southeast of Oman, the European Union's naval forces said.

The Zirku crude oil tanker was seized some 250 nautical miles southeast of the Omani port of Salalah at around 0900 GMT, the EU Navfor anti-piracy mission said in a statement.

"The vessel was attacked by two pirate skiffs firing RPGs and small arms," the statement said.

In addition to the Pakistanis, the vessel was carrying three Egyptians, three Jordanians, two Ukrainians, one Indian, one Filipino, one Iraqi and one Croatian.

"There is no further information about the crew at present," EU Navfor said.

The ship was on its way to Singapore from Bashayer, Sudan, when it was attacked.

The Zirku had registered with Navfor's Maritime Security Centre - Horn of Africa, which tracks the movements of ships through the Gulf of Aden.

It was also reporting to the UK Maritime Trade Operations office in Dubai, which acts as the primary point of contact for merchant vessels and liaison with military forces in the region.

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