NAIROBI, Oct. 30 (Xinhua)--Somali pirates have hijacked a Panama-flagged tanker in the Somali Basin with 24 crew members, European Union anti-piracy force said on Saturday.
EU Naval Force spokesman Peter Klingvall said the Liberian- owned MV Polar was attacked during on Friday night approximately 580 nautical miles (almost 1,100 km) east from Socotra Island.
"The owner confirmed this morning that his vessel was under pirate control," Klingvall said in a statement.
The MV Polar, deadweight 72,825 tons, has a crew of 24, of which one is Romanian, three are Greek, four Montenegrin and 16 Filipino, he said. The Horn of African nation is at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden, which leads to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, one of the world's most important shipping channels.
The country has been plagued by factional fighting between warlords and hasn't had a functioning central administration since the 1991 ouster of former dictator Mohammed Siad Barre. International military officials have vowed to fight Somali pirates who have moved into the waters off the coast of East Africa, as attacks begin to decrease. Crews have been successfully repelling more attacks, making it harder for pirates to capture ships and earn multi-million-dollar ransoms. But the pirates have responded more violently. Many ship owners are investing in physical defences like stringing razor wire and adding fire hoses that can hit attackers with streams of high-pressure water. Some ships are even having electric fence-style systems installed.