Pirates off the coast of Somalia captured a German multipurpose vessel with 12 men on board.
The Beluga Nomination, belonging to Bremen-based Beluga Shipping, was traveling from Malta to the port of Masan in South Korea when it was seized Jan. 22 some 800 nautical miles north of the Seychelles, Beluga Shipping said today. The crew of the ship comes from Poland, Ukraine, Russia and the Philippines, the company said.
The Beluga Nomination, built in 2006, is a 9,821 deadweight-ton, multipurpose heavy-lift project-cargo vessel.
Pirates hijacked a record 53 ships and 1,181 crew members in 2010, most of them off Somalia, according to the London-based International Maritime Bureau.
While distress calls were made by the crew to the European anti-pirate mission Atalanta, no warships were in the area at the time, Beluga said.
The ship "is in severe distress and danger," said Beluga, which transports heavy-lift project cargo for the offshore oil and gas industry and to sea-based wind-energy projects.
The crew was able to flee to a security room within the ship when the pirates attacked. Their captors eventually managed to break into the room and take control of the ship, which is now sailing toward Somalia, Beluga said.
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