February 22, 2009 / 2:03 PM / in 10 years

Greece says pirates seize cargo vessel off Somalia

ATHENS, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Pirates seized a Greek-owned cargo ship off the coast of Somalia on Sunday, Greece’s merchant marine ministry said.

"Pirates seized the Maltese-flagged cargo ship Saldanha, with 22 crew, off Somalia," Greece’s merchant marine ministry said. It said the vessel, loaded with coal, was sailing to Slovenia.

Piracy off Somalia, one of the world’s busiest shipping areas, and other coasts of Africa has increased sharply over the past year, earning the pirates millions of dollars of ransom payments and pushing up maritime insurance rates. (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Robert Woodward)

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