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Pirates Seize Liberian Tanker Near Somalia

The European Union anti-piracy task force says pirates have seized a Liberian-owned tanker off the coast of Somalia.

The task force (EU NAVFOR Somalia) says the MV Polar tanker was attacked Saturday about 1,100 kilometers off the coast of Socotra Island in the Arabian Sea. The EU reports the owner of the vessel confirmed early Saturday that the ship was under pirate control.

The MV Polar is a 73,000-ton freighter with a crew of 16 from the Philippines, four Montenegrins, three Greeks and a Romanian.

EU vessels have been patrolling the shipping lanes near Somalia in an effort to reduce hijackings.

Naval forces from the EU, NATO, and several countries are patrolling waters near Somalia to combat piracy. Despite the patrols, Somali pirates have hijacked dozens of ships in recent years, taking in tens of millions of dollars in ransom.

Somalia has been plagued by factional fighting and has lacked a strong central government for nearly 20 years.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.