Monday, January 17, 2011

Pirates hold 11 Burmese sailors hostage

Monday, 17 January 2011 20:00 Kyaw Kha

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Somali pirates hijacked a Korean cargo vessel, the ‘Samho Jewelry’, in the Arabian sea on Saturday, according to the Seafarers Union of Burma (SUB).

Eleven Burmese sailors were working on the vessel when it was hijacked.

The ship was carrying 21 crew members: 11 Burmese, eight Koreans and two Indonesians. It carried a 10,000-ton cargo of chemicals.

“According to the information available to us, they were hijacked on Saturday. The crew on board included 11 Burmese sailors sent by the Samho shipping agent in Rangoon, but they didn’t disclose this fact [to us]. The families of the sailors might be informed about it”, said Htay Aung, a SUB central committee member.

The vessel was hijacked while it was traveling to Sri Lanka from the United Arab Emirates.

The total number of Burmese sailor being held hostage by Somali pirates has now reached 34.

On December 10, five Somali pirates hijacked a Liberian cargo vessel, the MV Panama, with 23 Burmese crew members on board while it was sailing from Dar-es-salaam in Tanzania to Baiar in Mozambique.

A shipping agent in Rangoon told Mizzima that all 23 Burmese sailors were in good health, and they have had contact with their family members by telephone.

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