Somali pirates hijack Seychelles yacht

NAIROBI Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:06am EDT

A video grab from an undated television footage shows pirates walking on the beach in the town of Eyl in the north of Somalia. REUTERS/Reuters TV

A video grab from an undated television footage shows pirates walking on the beach in the town of Eyl in the north of Somalia.

Credit: Reuters/Reuters TV

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NAIROBI (Reuters) - Somali pirates have hijacked a yacht from the Seychelles with two men on board, a maritime official said on Wednesday.

The yacht left the Seychelles in February en route to Madagascar but disappeared soon after, Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers Assistance Program said.

He named the two men on board as Gilbert Victor and Andre Conrad, both from the Seychelles.

"The ill-fated yacht is presently under tight security, anchored next to Garacad, Somalia," he said.

Somali pirate hijackings have fallen in 2009 after international naval forces began patrolling the busy sea lanes in the Gulf of Aden.

Pirates last year made the Gulf, which connects Europe to Asia and the Middle East via the Suez Canal, the most dangerous waterway in the world. Dozens of ships were hijacked and tens of millions of dollars paid out in ransoms.

The pirates have been extending the range of their attacks, and the taking of the Seychelles boat looks like another long-distance strike.

(Reporting by Wangui Kanina; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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