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Somali Pirates Rescue Crew as Ship Burns

Somali pirates say they have evacuated 19 crew members from a hijacked ship that caught fire Wednesday.

The Panama-flagged cargo ship MV Orna caught fire in the pirate stronghold of Harardhere, on Somalia's Indian Ocean coast.

VOA's Somali service talked to a regional piracy expert, Andrew Mwangura, who says the ship was still on fire Thursday afternoon local time.

A pirate said he and his colleagues were trying to put out the fire. No cause had been determined.

The ship's crew remains held by the pirates.

Somali pirates continue to target vessels in the Indian Ocean despite international patrols aimed at stopping hijackings.

The pirates have received hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom to release ships and their crews.

Last week, pirates were reportedly paid $12 million for the release of a Kuwaiti oil tanker that had been held since March.

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

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