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29 May, 2008 03:41

Somali troops to seize hijacked ship

Somalia says it will send in the military in an attempt to rescue a cargo vessel with four Russians onboard. It was hijacked in neutral waters in the Gulf of Aden on Monday. Meanwhile, the owner of the ship says the company wants to avoid any military inv

Russia's Foreign Ministry is urging Somalia to avoid any actions which could pose a threat to four Russians on board of the ship.
The ship, Amiya Scan, belongs to the Dutch shipping company Reider Shipping BV. It is being held by pirates near the coast off Somalia's northern region of Puntland. The vessel was on its way to Romania carrying a decommissioned oil platform from Kenya. 

Mohamud Muse Hirsi, known as (Adde Muse), President of the Puntland regional administration, said that the government of Puntland would “use military force” to free the ship. He appealed to the Dutch government and the ship's owners not to pay any ransom to the pirates.
Lars Walder, spokesman for Reider Shipping, says negotiations with the pirates will continue. “We don’t see a future in getting people released by military actions. We don’t know what can happen but there are all sorts of scenarios you can think about.” 

At least 24 ships have been hijacked by pirates in Somalia this year alone.

Last week it was reported that Puntland's forces helped release a Jordanian-flagged vessel.

Russia has once again called on other countries to step up efforts to fight piracy off the African coast.