South Korean fishing ship hijacked by Somali pirates

October 17, 2010 19:40

SEOUL, South Korea — Somali pirates have hijacked a South Korean-operated fishing boat with 43 sailors, Seoul's Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

Two South Korean, two Chinese and 39 Kenyans were aboard the 241-ton Kenya-registered trawler when it was attacked Oct. 9 in the waters off Kenya's Lamu Island, South Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It wasn't immediately known if negotiations with the pirates had begun or if they were demanding a ransom.

South Korean officials declined to provide details about the kidnapping, saying that might undermine chances for the fishermen's safe release.

Seoul's Yonhap news agency reported the ship had been fishing for crab in the area for about one month before being seized and taken to a pirate stronghold in northern Somalia. The ship with GPS equipment left the stronghold on Saturday and was sailing south, Yonhap reported later Sunday citing the vessel's agent in Kenya. Its destination and reason for moving weren't known.

It identified the ship as the Keummi 305 and the two abducted South Koreans as the 54-year-old captain and a 67-year-old engineer, both surnamed Kim.

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