gunmen have seized two South Korean fishing boats off the coast of Somalia.
About 30 people – including four South Koreans – were on board, says the Somali
foreign ministry. They have all been taken hostage.
Since the start of this year, there has been a sharp increase in piracy attacks
off the Somali coast.
Piracy had been brought under control until Ethiopian and Somali troops ousted
the Union of Islamic Courts.
Somalia has been without an effective national government for some 16 years
and lies near a main shipping route connecting the Red Sea with the Indian
The ships were registered in Tanzania and said to be on their way to Yemen
from Mombasa in Kenya.
Andrew Mwangura, of the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme in Nairobi,
said a third boat had escaped. He told Reuters news agency that about 12 gunmen
had attacked the vessels.
“Currently they are under captivity, but we don’t know their
exact position. Crew members on board are about 30 and are composed of Koreans,
Chinese, Vietnamese and Indians.”