The EU's piracy task force says Somali pirates have hijacked a cargo ship with 22 Syrians and 2 Egyptians onboard.
The force said in a statement that the MV Syria Star was seized as it sailed in the Gulf of Aden with a cargo of sugar.
The EU said it dispatched helicopters immediately after the St. Vincent and Grenadines-flagged ship said Thursday that pirates were onboard and fired shots at the crew.
Helicopters found an abandoned skiff containing fuel and ammunition.
The EU said the ship is headed toward Somalia and has refused to respond to radio contact.
Pirates are holding at least 17 ships and hundreds of crew members, including a British couple who were seized from their yacht last October.