20 Oct 2009

Chinese ship seized by pirates

7:55 am on 20 October 2009

European Union officials say a Chinese bulk carrier has been hijacked in the Indian Ocean.

The vessel was seized 550 nautical miles northeast of the Seychelles and 700 nautical miles off the east coast of Somalia.

A maritime patrol aircraft from the EU naval force has been sent to investigate.

State media in China said the ship's name was De Xin Hai and was carrying coal.

The capture of the Chinese ship brings to six the total number of vessels currently in the hands of Somali pirates.

According to Ecoterra International, at least 179 attacks have been carried out by Somali pirates since the start of 2009, 52 of them were successful hijackings.