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Somali Pirates Seize Tanker With 17 Crew

Somali Pirates Seize Tanker With 17 Crew

Suspected Somali pirates have seized a vessel with 17 crew members off the coast of Kenya.

The European Union's anti-piracy force says the MV York was hijacked Saturday about 90 kilometers east of the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

It says a helicopter sent by a Turkish warship flew over the vessel and confirmed that pirates with weapons were on board.

The York is a Singapore-flagged liquified petroleum gas tanker. Its crew includes one German, two Ukrainians, and 14 Filipinos.

The ship's operator, the Athens-based Interunity Management Corporation, reports that the tanker is sailing toward the Somali coast.

The EU force says Somali pirates are now holding 19 ships with 428 hostages.

Naval forces from the EU, NATO, and several individual countries are patrolling waters near Somalia to combat piracy.

Despite the patrols, Somali pirates continue to seize ships and receive multi-million dollar ransoms for their release.

The EU force noted that another recently hijacked ship, the fishing vessel Golden Wave, was seen in the vicinity of the York. That could suggest the pirates are using the Golden Wave as a "mother ship" to launch their attacks.

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