19 Nov 2008

Grain ship hijacked by pirates

11:55 am on 19 November 2008

A Hong Kong cargo ship loaded with wheat bound for Iran has been hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

The Delight, with 25 crew members on board, was captured around 0600 GMT on Tuesday off the Yemen coast. It is now reported to be heading towards Somalia.

The Xinhua news agency said it was carrying 36,000 tonnes of wheat to the port of Bandar Abbas.

A Saudi supertanker with a $100 million cargo was seized by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean on Saturday. The Sirius Star was 830km off the Kenyan coast.

It is now reported to be anchored off the port of Harardhere in the northern breakaway Somali region of Puntland.

Saudi Arabia has condemned the hijacking as "an outrageous act".

Foreign minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said the international community needed to fight piracy, which he compared to terrorism.

The International Maritime Bureau says Somali pirates have attacked 90 ships to date this year - more than double the number in 2007. Pirates are still holding 16 ships and more than 250 sailors.