A Turkish freighter ship has been hijacked by pirates off the Somali coast, a regional maritime official confirmed on Thursday.
Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Program said the Neslihan with 20 crew members on board was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday.
"The freighter ship was carrying iron ore from Canada to China when it was hijacked along the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday," Mwangura told Xinhua by telephone.
The seizure came hours after the Kenyan government called on the international community with naval ships deployed around the Horn of Africa to stamp out rampant piracy off the coast of Somalia.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki said that the increased incidents of piracy in the Gulf of Eden and off the Somalia coastline have taken dangerous dimensions.
"Pirate attacks continue to disrupt delivery of humanitarian aid and are a big threat to international sea-borne trade in the vital shipping arteries of the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean," Kibaki told regional summit on Somalia in Nairobi.
"This unfortunate situation calls for urgent and resolute measures to save the road map towards comprehensive peace in Somalia," Kibaki said.
The waters off its coast are considered to be some of the world's most dangerous – pirates have hijacked nearly 30 ships this year and attacked many more.
Most attacks have been in the Gulf of Aden between Yemen and north Somalia, a major route leading to the Suez Canal linking Europe and Asia.
(Xinhua News Agency October 31, 2008)