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Somali pirates hijacked a Greek cargo ship with 22 crewmembers
Somali pirates hijacked a Greek cargo ship with 22 crewmembers on board in the Gulf of Aden, a spokeswoman from the Greek trade ministry told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.

The vessel, the MV Irene, belongs to Greek Chian Spirit Maritime Enterprises and was en route from Jordan to India when it was seized.

"The cargo ship, the Irene, sailing under the St. Vincent and Grenadine flag was hijacked this morning and it has 22 Filipinos on board," the spokeswoman said.

There is no information on the condition of the crew.

A Norwegian-owned chemical tanker seized by Somali pirates on March 26, the Bow Asir, with 27 crewmembers - a Norwegian captain and Russian first officer, as well as 19 Filipinos, five Poles, and one Lithuanian - was released on Friday after the owners paid a ransom, the Norway Post newspaper said, adding that the pirates had demanded $2.4 million.

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that Washington was determined to stamp out piracy off the coast of Somalia after a dramatic rescue mission ended with U.S. navy snipers shooting dead three pirates.

Obama has not ruled out bombing the Somali pirates' land bases in an effort to snuff out their attacks on commercial ships.

According to the UN, Somali pirates carried out at least 120 attacks on ships in 2008, resulting in combined ransom payouts of around $150 million.

Around 20 warships from the navies of at least 10 countries, including Russia, are involved in anti-piracy operations off Somalia. The East African country, ravaged by years of civil war, has no functioning government.


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