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4 Feb, 2008 19:26

Pirates seize ship with Russian-British crew

A tug-boat with a Russian and British crew hijacked by pirates, has reportedly been taken to Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. It was on its way to Russia's Far Eastern island of Sakhalin from St. Petersburg when it was seized. The pirates are reportedly dem

All contact was lost on Friday following a distress call received by the Danish company that owns the ship.

All the crew members are reportedly unharmed and still onboard.

The ship's owners are in talks with the pirates in an attempt to negotiate the release of the crew.

Patrick Adamson, spokesperson for the Svitzer company, said the families of the crew members have been informed about the incident.

“Onboard there are four Russian crew members and there are two other persons from the company commissioned to mobilise the vessel – that is to take it from St. Petersburg to Sakhalin. That is the captain, who is a British subject, and the first officer, who is I believe is Irish. It's too early to say what the situation is onboard but of course once proper contact has been established, we'll be in a better position to see what's happening,” he said.

Russia has informed the NATO fleet of the situation.

Experts say there is no danger to the vessel's crew as long as the captors get their money.

Piracy has become a regular occurrence off the coast of Somalia, with several incidents reported each year.

Somali pirates are unchecked as the country has had no effective government since 1991.

The country's authorities argue they lack the resources and organisation to crack down on piracy.