Aug 3 (Reuters) - Here is a list of some ships believed to be under the control of Somali pirates following the release of a Malaysian-owned tugboat, Masindra 7, seized on Dec 16, 2008.
SERENITY: The catamaran sailing for Madagascar from the Seychelles with three people aboard, was seized in March 2009.
INDIAN OCEAN EXPLORER: Seized March 2009. The 35-metre boat was built in Hamburg as an oceanographic research vessel. It accommodates about 12 passengers. Pirates have freed the seven crew.
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 and three Russians, two Ukrainians and 14 Filipinos on board.
WIN FAR 161: Taiwanese tuna boat, seized April 6, 2009.
SAMARA AHMED: Seized April 10, 2009. The Egyptian fishing vessel was detained with 16 crew.
MOMTAZ 1: Seized April 10, 2009. The 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 13, 2009. The St. Vincent and the Grenadines-flagged Greek-owned bulk carrier was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden. Its Filipino crew of 21 was unharmed.
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 were said to be unhurt. The ship, 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.
CHARELLE: Seized on June 12, 2009. The 2,800-tonne cargo ship carrying about nine crew, was attacked 60 miles south of Oman. Lloyds reported the vessel was owned by shipping firm Tarmstedt International.
HORIZON-1: Seized on July 8, 2009. The 34,173 dwt bulk carrier, believed to be carrying sulphate, was hijacked with 23 Turkish crew aboard.
* PIRACY KEY FACTS:
-- Piracy attacks around the world more than doubled to 240 from 114 during the first six months of the year compared with the same period in 2008, the ICC International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB) said in July.
-- The rise in overall numbers is due almost entirely to increased Somali pirate activity off the Gulf of Aden and east coast of Somalia, with 86 and 44 incidents reported respectively.
-- In 2008, there were 111 incidents including 42 vessels hijacked in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia. So far in 2009, there have been 31 successful hijackings by Somali pirates including one attack off Oman's coast.
-- 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
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(For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: africa.reuters.com/) (Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit;)