A Liberia-flagged oil tanker with 23 crew members aboard has been hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, says the EU's anti-piracy mission.
Somali pirates armed with automatic weapons boarded the Moscow University tanker carrying 86,000 tons of crude oil ,worth roughly USD 50 million, Cmdr. John Harbour, a European Union Naval spokesman said on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.
According to the ship owner, Novoship, the tanker was sailing to china when the attack occurred on Wednesday, about 800 kilometers east of the Somali coast.
Meanwhile, The Marshal Shaposhnikov warship was dispatched to rescue the harassed ship.
The European Union's anti-piracy mission in Somalia, NAVFOR, said "armed men in speed boats attacked the tanker at about 8 a.m. Moscow time about 350 nautical miles east of Socatra, Yemen."
According to the statement the crew members are all believed to be in good health.
According to the UN International Maritime Bureau, in 2009 Somali pirates were responsible for almost 217 successful attacks on ship passing through the Gulf of Aden, taking 867 crew members hostage.
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