SEOUL, South Korea – Somali pirates seized a South Korean freighter with 21 crew members in the Arabian Sea, South Korea's government said Saturday.
Eight South Koreans, two Indonesians and 11 Myanmar citizens were aboard the 11,500-ton ship when it was hijacked around Saturday afternoon, South Korea's Foreign Ministry said. The chemical carrier Samho Jewelry was sailing from the United Arab Emirates to Sri Lanka.
South Korean officials planned to discuss the incident Saturday night, the ministry said, without elaborating.
The hijacking comes three days after a Danish cargo ship, the MV Leopard, was attacked by Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea. The pirates have since abandoned the ship, and the whereabouts of the pirates and the four Filipino and two Danish crew members remained unknown.
In November, Somali pirates freed the Samho Dream, a South Korean supertanker, and its 24 crew — five South Koreans and 19 Filipinos — after seven months of captivity. Samho Jewelry and Samho Dream belong to South Korea-based Samho Shipping.
Calls to Samho Shipping went unanswered Saturday.
Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991. Piracy has flourished off its coast, sometimes yielding multimillion-dollar ransoms.
The ransoms the pirates get are among the few regular sources of income for small businesses that supply the pirates with food and other goods.