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24 April 2017 19:00 (South Africa)

Singapore ship hit by Somali pirates

Somali pirates have hijacked a Singapore-flagged container ship only days after pirates demanded $4 million in exchange for freeing a Spanish trawler. The buccaneers seized the vessel 300 nautical miles north of the Seychelles. The US navy says 150 vessels have been attacked so far this year. The Singaporean ship, with 21 crew, was headed for Mombasa in Kenya. Pirates have made millions of dollars in ransom money, and patrols by some of the world’s biggest navies, including the Indians and Chinese, have not stopped the problem. But the scourge is not restricted to the east coast of Africa, as around the same time the Singapore vessel was taken, Cameroon's military killed four pirates who attacked a fishing vessel, destroying their speedboat and seizing weapons. The incident was the first reported pirate attack in those waters since March, but observers say increasing attacks in the region could pose a long-term threat to oil supplies from Nigeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and the Republic of Congo.

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