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Somali Pirates Strike Again

Somali pirates have hijacked a European cargo ship in the Indian Ocean.

A maritime official, Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers Assistance Program, said the vessel, the Ariana, was captured overnight (Friday to Saturday) on its way from Brazil to the Middle East.

He said the vessel is Greek-owned with a British manager and that its crew of 24 Ukrainians is believed to be safe.

Pirates also claimed Saturday to have captured another ship that was carrying vehicles.

On Friday, a Portuguese warship successfully prevented pirates from attacking a Bahamas-flagged oil tanker, MV Kition, in the Gulf of Aden.

After tracking the pirates to their mothership, a NATO spokesman says the Portuguese found four sticks of P4A explosives on the vessel.  He said it was the first time pirates had been found with high grade explosives, and that it was enough to blow a hole in the side of a ship.

The Portuguese initially detained the 19 suspects on board, but freed them after consulting with authorities.

Naval patrols by NATO, the United States, and other world powers have not stopped pirates from seizing ships in the waters off Somalia, where the weak central government is unable to police the coastline.

The International Maritime Bureau says Somali pirates carried out 61 attacks in just the first three months of the year.

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

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