NAIROBI, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Armed Somali pirates have hijacked a Danish freighter and its crew of 13 off the coast of Somalia, a regional maritime official said on Saturday.
Andrew Mwangura, the coordinator of the East Africa Seafarers Assistance Program (SAP), said the late Friday attack on the CEC Future, a ship registered in the Bahamas and owned by the Clipper Elite Carrier shipping company, occurred in the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden.
"Most of the crew members are Russians. There are one Georgian, one Lithuanian and 11 Russians in the general cargo vessel which was seized on Friday afternoon," Mwangura told Xinhua by telephone.
Shipping routes near Somalia have become increasingly dangerous due to the rising spread of piracy. Many countries have stationed military vessels in the area to provide protection for their nation's shippers.
Mwangura said the freighter was heading from the Middle East to Asia and flying the national flag of the Bahamas.
According to global maritime body, IBM, the latest incident brought to over 81 the number of attacks in the area this year. The total includes 32 hijackings, of which 11 ships and more than 200 crew are still being held by Somali pirates.
The surge in attacks has prompted Western warships to establish a security corridor in the gulf patrolled by an international coalition of warships.