Pirates hijack yacht off Somalia in Gulf of Aden

10:35, 17 December 2008
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Pirates have hijacked a yacht in the Gulf of Aden, the third ship to be taken within 24 hours off Somalia despite the presence of international navies, according to Reuters.

"I know that a yacht was taken on Tuesday night. There were two people on board but we have no other information on that case," Andrew Mwangura of the Kenyan-based East African Seafarers Assistance programme.

Pirates also hijacked an Indonesian tugboat used by French oil company Total (TOTF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) off the coast of Yemen and a Turkish cargo ship on Tuesday, Mwangura said.

A surge in hijackings in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean this year has earned Somali gunmen millions of dollars in ransoms, hiked shipping insurance costs and sent foreign navies rushing to patrol the busy shipping lanes off Somalia.

More than a dozen ships and hundreds of crew are still being held in various pirate hideouts along the Somali coast.

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