Somali pirates seize German-owned ship, 11 crew

Somali pirates have seized a German-owned ship with its 11 Romanian crew members in the Gulf of Aden, a US Navy spokesman said Wednesday. The Antigua and Barbuda-flagged cargo ship, the MV Victoria, was captured Tuesday afternoon in an area 120 kilometers south of Yemen, said Lt. Nate Christensen, a spokesman for the Bahrain-based US 5th Fleet. He had no information on the condition of the crew. There are now 19 ships being held by Somali pirates. Piracy has exploded off Somalia in recent years as the bandits continue to get ransoms in the millions of dollars. It is perhaps the biggest moneymaker in Somalia because the pirates almost always get paid. The pirates' wealth is all the more shocking considering Somalia's poverty. There has been no effective central government in nearly 20 years, plunging the arid country into chaos. Nearly every public institution has crumbled.