Seven Sri Lankans on board vessel captured by pirates

SOMALIA (Feb. 6, 2009) The U.S. Navy fleet ocean tug USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168) provides fuel and fresh water to Motor Vessel Faina following its release by Somali pirates Feb. 5 after holding it for more than four months. Photo by larryzou@ via FLickr under the Creative Commons license.

Seven Sri Lankan nationals are believed to be on board a vessel captured by Somali pirates off the coast of Oman.

Daily News
According to NATO, the German-owned cargo ship MV Charelle had been hijacked 60 nautical miles south of Sur on the Omani coast,the first recorded pirate attack in the area.

According to them, the captured ship was seeing heading southwest towards Somalia yesterday, reportedly with none of the crew being harmed. The latest incident came just hours after NATO Defence Ministers decided to deploy six ships off the coast off Somalia from July to enhance its anti-piracy operations. More than 100 such attacks has been reported in the waters off Somalia since the beginning of 2008.

International shipping companies - in the past - set the trend by paying millions of dollars in ransom to the Somali pirates. It was thought to have been cheaper than dealing with an insurance claim. Which in turn only encouraged these Somalis further. They spent a chunk of the ransom money to further arm themselves and buy more powerful boats to aid in their piracy.

Under the Obama administration the Navy Seals were deployed and the Pirates attacked. This sent a strong message to those who wanted to continue a path of piracy. They seem to have stopped taking on US vessels these days and their focus has moved to much softer targets.

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