Double hijack for Danish ship

November 18, 2009 12:00 am

, BRUSSELS, Nov 18 – Pirates off Somalia attacked Wednesday a Danish container ship, already hijacked once, but were scared off by a security contingent aboard, the EU naval mission in the region said.

The US-flagged Maersk Alabama came under attack from automatic weapons early Wednesday morning some 350 nautical miles east off the Somali coast but the security team returned fire, the EUNAVFOR mission said in a statement.

"The crew managed to repel the attack and no casualties were reported," it said, adding that a patrol aicraft from Djibouti was sent to investigate.

A group of Somali pirates seized the Maersk Alabama, belonging to the Danish firm\\\’s US subsidiary Maersk Line Ltd, on April 8.

On that occasion the 20-strong crew — who were unarmed — managed to wrest back control of the ship before the pirates fled, taking ship\\\’s captain Richard Phillips as a hostage.

He was freed five days later by the US navy in a rescue operation.

A week after the attack, the company\\\’s chief executive said it would reroute vessels to avoid the Red Sea and travel around South Africa\\\’s southern tip, citing concern for "the safety and security of our crews".


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