Somali pirates have seized a cargo ship with 20 American crew on board off the Horn of Africa.
AFP – The 17,000-tonne vessel was attacked in the Indian Ocean, 400 miles from the Somali capital Mogadishu.
The vessel is owned by the Copenhagen-based container shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk.
In a statement, the company later confirmed that the US-flagged vessel has 20 Americans onboard.
Andrew Mwangura, of the Kenya-based East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme, said all the crew are believed to be safe.
A spokesman for the US Navy confirmed there were American citizens on board, but did not say how many.
The vessel is the first to be captured with an all-American crew.
On Monday, pirates hijacked a British-owned, Italian-operated ship with 16 Bulgarian crew on board.
Over the weekend, they also seized a French yacht, a Yemeni tug, and a 20,000-tonne German container vessel.
Interfax news agency said the Hansa Stavanger had a German captain, three Russians, two Ukrainians, and 14 Filipinos on board.
The pirates typically use speed boats launched from “mother ships”, which means they can usually evade foreign navy ships patrolling the area.
They often take captured vessels to remote coastal villages in Somalia.