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Somali pirates seize ship with Ukrainian crew - ministry


KIEV, May 3 (RIA Novosti) - Somali pirates have seized a British-owned ship with a Ukrainian crew, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

The Maltese-flagged cargo vessel, the Ariana, owned by British company Seven Seas Maritime Ltd., was seized by the Somali pirates some 250 miles southwest of the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean on Saturday. The ship was carrying 35,000 tons of soybeans from Brazil to the Middle East.

In a similar incident, a Ukrainian cargo ship was seized by Somali pirates in September 2008. The Faina was only released in February after the pirates received a $3.2 million ransom.

Pirates are increasingly active in the waters off Somalia, which has no central government and no navy to police its coastline. Around 20 warships from the navies of at least a dozen countries are involved in anti-piracy operations off Somalia. According to the United Nations, Somali pirates carried out at least 120 attacks on ships in 2008, resulting in combined ransom payouts of around $150 million.

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