Somali pirates hijack Saudi tanker

Somali pirates have hijacked a Saudi tanker with a crew of 14, the European Union's anti-piracy mission off Somalia reported on Wednesday.

EU Navfor said that Al Nisr Al Saudi, a small tanker heading for Jeddah, was seized on Monday.

"The master of the ship is Greek and the nationality of the rest of the crew has not been confirmed," EU Navfor said in a statement on its website. "They are all believed to be well."

Piracy is rife off the Horn of Africa nation, which has not had a functioning central government since 1991.

Young men take to the seas in search of multimillion-dollar ransoms, despite the presence of over a dozen international warships, which were dispatched to the Gulf of Aden in 2008 to combat a rise in piracy.

The pirates have expanded their operations further out into the Indian Ocean to avoid the patrols.

The ship, which was travelling outside a recommended travel corridor and had not registered with EU Navfor, is now anchored off the Somali port of Garacad, a well-known pirate stronghold, the statement said. - Sapa-dpa

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