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Oct-11-2010 15:42printcomments

Japanese Cargo Vessel Seized In Somali Waters

A French warship is monitoring the situation as the Izumi heads toward Somalia.

MV Izume
MV Izume photo courtesy: Rotterdam Bulk Terminal

(NAIROBI, Kenya) - While a spokesman for the Japanese transport ministry said Monday that the Japanese multi-purpose ship MV Izume is being surrounded by pirates in waters off Kenya, EU Navfor confirmed finally today that it was sea-jacked already yesterday, allegedly 80nm off the Kenyan coast.

"We received a report today at about 05:00 pm (0800 GMT)," the Japanese spokesman told AFP.

But the owners of the Panama-flagged MV Izume received an automatically released distress signal already Sunday afternoon, indicating that the vessel was likely under attack by pirates, said E.U. Naval Force spokesman Lt. Col. Per Klingvall to AP.

The ship is owned by Japanese shipping company NYK-Hinode Line Ltd. and is flying a flag of convenience from Panama, Jiji Press reported, citing sources from the transport ministry.

Though during the fire on MV Sea Eagle off the Kenya coast, the navies allegedly weren't around and couldn't help, a Danish warship was sent to investigate and made contact with the Izumi's captain early Monday. He reported that the ship was under pirate control. It is commandeered to Somalia and is already around 170 miles (274 kilometres) south of the Somali capital of Mogadishu, EU Navfor stated, which is strange, because such a vessel would need at least 3-4 days to reach that position from Kenyan waters. However, NATO clarified that the capture happened already yesterday at 13h09 UTC in position 01 39S 042 05E, which actually would be inside the Somali waters, according to UNCLOS rules and regulations. What that vessel would have to do just off this al-Shabaab administered stretch of the Somali coast is at least questionable.

Also a French warship, which is suddenly in the area, is monitoring the situation as the Izumi heads toward Somalia, said Klingvall, according to AP, who seem to have preferential information status with the U.S. and European navies.

The Izumi is operated by NYK-Hinode Line Ltd.., one of the oldest shiping lines plying the routes from the Far East to East Africa, and was travelling between Singapore and Mombasa, said Yuki Shimoda, an official at Japan's Transport Ministry. The 14,152-ton Izumi is usually carrying spare parts for the motor industry.

Today, 11. October 2010, 08h00 UTC, still at least 26 foreign vessels plus one barge are kept in Somali hands against the will of their owners, while at least 454 hostages - including an elderly British yachting couple and the 5 new hostages from Somaliland - suffer to be released.
Source: ECOTERRA Intl.




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