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Somali Pirates Seize Cargo Ship

Somali pirates have seized another ship. This time it was a cargo vessel traveling in the Indian Ocean.

The European Union's anti-piracy force says the MV Rak Afrikana was hijacked Sunday, west of the Seychelles islands. It says an aircraft that spotted the ship reported seeing eight people on board, possibly three of them pirates.

The EU force says the ship is owned by a company in the Seychelles, but that the nationality of the crew is not known.

Somali pirates are now holding 20 ships with nearly 300 crew members. The pirates released a Turkish bulk carrier and its 25 crewmembers on Saturday.

The EU says pirates freed the Yasin C because of technical problems on board. It says all crewmembers are well and that the ship is being towed to the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

Somali pirates have exploited good weather to hijack 18 ships since the beginning of March, including a South Korean oil tanker captured last Sunday.

International naval forces are patrolling waters near Somalia in an effort to stop the attacks. But the warships cannot effectively monitor the vast areas in which the pirates operate.

Pirates usually release hijacked ships and crews unharmed after payment of a ransom.

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