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Pirates seize ship with Filipino crew

BRUSSELS, January 17, 2011 (AFP) – Pirates hijacked a Greek-owned ship with 24 Filipino sailors on board in the Gulf of Aden on Monday after firing small arms and a rocket-propelled grenade at the vessel, the EU’s naval force said.

The 52,000-tonne Eagle bulk carrier was seized by a single pirate skiff in the Somali basin as it headed from Aqaba, Jordan, to Paradip, India, the European Union’s anti-piracy force said.

There has been no contact with the ship since the attack, which took place 490 nautical miles southwest of Salaam, Oman, and no word about the crew’s condition, the EU Navfor mission said.

The attack took place one day after pirates freed a Greek oil tanker with a crew of 18 Filipinos that was seized more than six months ago, the EU naval force also said.

The 13,000-tonne Motivator, designed to carry refined oil, was released early Sunday some 160 nautical miles off Socotra, an archipelago near Somalia, an earlier statement said.

“An EU-Navfor ship assisted the crew immediately after their release,” it said.

“According to the ship’s Greek owners, the crew are reported to be as well as could be expected given the circumstances.”

The tanker was seized on July 4 in the southern Red Sea.

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