- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 15, 2009

At least 15 ships and nearly 300 crew members are believed to be currently held by pirates off the coast of Somalia, according to the International Maritime Bureau, NATO and others. A look at the ships still being held Wednesday:

_ NOV. 10: Pirates hijack a Philippines chemical tanker, the MT Stolt Strength, with 23 crew members.

_ DEC. 16: Pirates seize a Malaysian tugboat with 11 Indonesian crew members.

_ FEB. 22: Pirates take a Greek-owned cargo ship, the Saldanha, with a 22-member crew, off Somalia’s coast. The nationalities of the crew members aboard the Malta-registered bulk carrier are unknown.

_ FEB. 28: State broadcaster in the Seychelles reports that Somali pirates hijacked a yacht with two people on board after it left the Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean. The date of the hijacking and the nationalities of those aboard are not known.

_ MARCH 25: Pirates seize Panama-registered, Greek-owned Nipayia with 18 Filipino crew members and a Russian captain.

_ APRIL 1: Tour operator says pirates have seized a tourist yacht and its crew of seven near the Seychelles. The Indian Ocean Explorer had dropped off its contingent of tourists before it was seized.

_ APRIL 4: Pirates hijack German freighter Hansa Stavanger. It has 24 crew members on board: five Germans, three Russians, two Ukrainians, two Filipinos and 12 Tuvalus.

_ APRIL 4: Pirates seize Taiwanese ship, Win Far 161, near the Seychelles islands. It has a crew of 30, including 17 Filipinos, six Indonesians, five Chinese and two Taiwanese.

_ APRIL 6: British-owned bulk carrier, the Malaspina Castle, hijacked in the Gulf of Aden. It is carrying a crew of 24 from Bulgaria, the Philippines, Russia and Ukraine.

_ APRIL 6: Pirates seize Taiwanese fishing boat with 30 crew off eastern Somalia.

_ APRIL 11: Pirates seize Italian tugboat off Somalia’s north coast. Ten of the 16 crew members are Italian. The others are five Romanians and a Croatian.

_ APRIL 14: Officials say two Egyptian fishing boats have been hijacked with a total of 36 crew, all believed to be Egyptian. It is not exactly clear when those ships were seized.

_ APRIL 14: Pirates seize Greek-managed bulk carrier, the MV Irene E.M., in a rare overnight attack. The St.-Vincent and Grenadines-flagged ship with at least 21 Filipino seamen was sailing from Jordan to India when it came under attack.

_ APRIL 14: Pirates in several speedboats capture the Lebanese-owned cargo ship the MV Sea Horse carrying 19 crew.

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