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Somali Pirates Capture Cargo Ship in Gulf of Aden

The European Union Naval Force says Somali pirates have hijacked a Panamanian-flagged cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden.

The European Union's anti-piracy force said the MV Suez vessel was captured early Monday. The ship has a 23-member crew from Egypt, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India.

The EU force said the ship's crew called for help when the vessel came under attack by gunfire, but by the time a naval helicopter arrived, the pirates had seized control.

Pirates have hijacked dozens of ships over the last few years, taking in tens of millions of dollars in ransom payments from ship owners.

Hijackings have continued this year despite patrols off Somalia's coast by warships from the United States, European Union, NATO and China.

Somalia's central government, fighting an Islamist insurgency, lacks the power and resources to combat piracy.

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