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Somali pirates seized South Korean chemicals ship

Somali pirates have seized a South Korean ship in the Arabian Sea, two months after an oil supertanker belonging to the same firm was freed after seven months in captivity, the government and local media said.

A Foreign Ministry statement issued late on Saturday said the cabinet had met to discuss how to deal with the hijacking of the 11,500-tonne Samho Jewelry, seized while carrying chemicals to Sri Lanka from the United Arab Emirates.

Aboard was a crew of eight Koreans, 11 Myanmar nationals and two Indonesians.
“We are operating two teams — one in the Korean embassy in Kenya and the other at the Foreign Affairs Ministry — set up immediately after the hijacking was confirmed,” the ministry said.

Navies from emerging and developed nations, including the European Union, China, India, Russia, Japan and the United States, have intensified patrols in the region to combat piracy. Officials at Samho Shipping were not immediately reachable.

Local media quoted the foreign ministry as saying that the company was in contact with the hijacked vessel and was aware of its location. Crew members, the reports said, were in good condition, while demand of the hijackers was not known yet.
Reports said a South Korean naval destroyer was chasing the hijacked ship. Foreign ministry officials were not available for comment.

Local media also quoted foreign ministry officials as saying the government would not negotiate with pirates .
According to the media, the Samho Jewelry belonged to Samho Shipping, whose oil supertanker Samho Dream was released in November after being held by Somali pirates for seven months.

The pirates said they had received a record ransom of $9.5 million for the release of the supertanker.

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