May 6 (Reuters) - Somali pirates said on Wednesday they had freed a UAE-owned cargo ship, the Al Meezan, captured at the weekend en route to Mogadishu.
Somali gunmen also hijacked a Greek-owned bulk carrier on Saturday, with a crew of 24 on board, a maritime official said.
The International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB-PRC) said a total of 102 reports of global pirate attacks were received by the IMB in the first three months of 2009 — compared to 53 incidents in the first quarter of 2008.
Somali pirate activity off the Gulf of Aden and east coast of Somalia accounted for 61 of the 102 attacks.
YENEGOA OCEAN: Seized Aug. 4, 2008 - The Nigerian tugboat, with around 11 crew aboard was hijacked near Bosasso.
JAIKUR-I: Seized Oct. 2, 2008 - The 21,040 tonne general cargo ship was detained after a dispute with the owners over damaged cargo. Most of the 21 crew were released last week. tonnes of oil products.
MASINDRA 7: Seized on Dec. 16, 2008. The Malaysian-owned tugboat, was seized with a barge off the Yemeni coast. The tug has around 11 Indonesian crew.
SERENITY: The catamaran sailing for Madagascar from the Seychelles with three people aboard, was seized in early March.
NIPAYIYA: Seized on March 25. The Greek-owned and Panama-registered was seized by pirates 450 miles from Somalia’s south coast.
INDIAN OCEAN EXPLORER: Seized March 2009. The 35-metre boat was built in Hamburg as an oceanographic research vessel. It accommodates around 12 passengers.
HANSA STAVANGER: Seized April 4, 2009. The 20,000-tonne German container vessel was captured about 400 miles off the southern Somali port of Kismayu, between the Seychelles and Kenya. The vessel had a German captain, three Russians, two Ukrainians and 14 Filipinos on board.
MALASPINA CASTLE: Seized April 6, 2009. The 32,500-tonne bulker is British-owned but operated by Italians.
— Taiwanese tuna boat, the WIN FAR 161, seized on same day.
SHUGAA-AL-MADHI: Seized April 9, 2009. The fishing boat was seized with 13 crew aboard.
MOMTAZ 1: Seized April 10, 2009. Egyptian fishing vessel was detained with 18 crew.
BUCCANEER: Seized April 11, 2009. The Italian tugboat, owned by Micoperi Marine Contractors, was carrying 10 Italians, five Romanians and a Croatian, and was seized towing two barges while travelling westbound through the Gulf of Aden.
IRENE E.M.: Seized April 14, 2009. The St. Vincent and the Grenadines-flagged Greek-owned bulk carrier was hijacked as it travelled through the Gulf of Aden. 22 Filipino crew unharmed.
POMPEI: Seized April 18, 2009. The Belgian dredging vessel and its 10 crew was hijacked about 600 km (370 miles) from the Somali coast en route to the Seychelles. It has two Belgian, four Croatian, one Dutch and three Filipino crew on board.
ARIANA: Seized May 2, 2009. The Ariana was seized north of Madagascar en route to the Middle East from Brazil. The 24-strong Ukrainian crew are said to be unhurt. The ship was flying a Maltese flag, belongs to All Oceans shipping in Greece. A Ukrainian ship was hijacked on the same day in the Indian Ocean with a cargo including U.N. vehicles. Maritime officials were unable to confirm this seizure.
VICTORIA: Seized on May 5, 2009. The Antigua and Barbuda- flagged cargo vessel was hijacked by eight pirates in the Gulf of Aden whilst proceeding toward the Port of Jeddah. The 7,767 gross ton, 146-metre ship had a crew of 10.
* PIRACY KEY FACTS:
— In 2008 there were 293 incidents of piracy against ships worldwide — 11 percent up on the year before. Attacks off Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden almost trebled.
— In January 2009, one in every six vessels attacked was successfully hijacked. This increased to one in eight for February 2009 and one in 13 for the month of March.
Nearly 20,000 ships pass through the Gulf of Aden each year, heading to and from the Suez Canal.
Sources: Reuters/Ecoterra International/International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre/Lloyds List/Inquirer.net