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Two Ships Seized Off Somali Coast

Authorities say Somali pirates have hijacked a British-flagged cargo ship transporting cars and a chemical tanker from Singapore.

Officials say pirates seized the cargo ship Asian Glory and its 25-member crew late Friday in waters about 1,000 kilometers east of Somalia.

A spokesman for the European Union task force in charge of battling piracy off the Somali coast says the seizure took place outside the mission's patrol zone.

The spokesman, Commander John Harbour, said the pirates had not yet contacted the ship's management company, Zodiac Maritime Agencies, and it was unclear where the vessel was headed.

The ship's crew includes 10 Ukrainians, eight Bulgarians, five Indians and two Romanians. Officials say they appear to be safe.

Earlier Friday, pirates seized the chemical tanker Pramoni in the Gulf of Aden.

The Pramoni's crew includes 17 Indonesians, five Chinese, one Vietnamese and one Nigerian. They are reported to be well.

Maritime officials say Somali pirates are currently holding more than 10 foreign vessels and more than 200 crewmen hostage.

Somali pirates have made tens of millions of dollars over the past two years hijacking ships for ransom.

Multinational naval forces have stopped many attacks near the coast, but pirates have increasingly focused their efforts on the Indian Ocean, an area too large for foreign navies to effectively patrol.

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