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Pirates now target all merchant shipping along East-African coastline to Kenya

By Adriana Stuijt     Dec 7, 2008 in Business
The number of Somalian pirates are growing - and their range has expanded from Somalian waters: they now are also hunting merchant vessels off the coasts of Tanzania and Kenya.
The latest reports from the International Maritime Bureau warn that all the merchant vessels along the Cape of Good Hope now are being targetted as they get closer to the coast line and approach the harbour entrances to Tanzania and Kenya.
A Dutch container ship was attacked on Saturday near the coastline of Tanzania by Somalian pirates - but they escaped by increasing their speed. Noel Choong of the International Maritime Bureau in Kuala Lumpur said the Dutch ship, sailing under the flag of Hong Kong, was followed by eight pirates in two speed boats. Rockets and automatic firearms were fired at the ship's crew - causing fires on board. The 19-member crew put out the fires and the master outran the pirates by increasing his speed. Choong said the crew spotted a white fishing vessel nearby - which they believe was the pirate 'mother ship'.
The latest piracy alerts warn that the numbers of pirates are growing and also have expanded their range: "A different group of pirates may now be operating further south of Somalia. The group is believed to be targeting vessels transiting to and from the Cape of Good Hope or ships enroute to Mombasa, Kenya as they sail closer to the coast, approaching the port, ' warned Choong.
"All ships are strongly advised to maintain a strict 24 hours visual and radar watch off the Tanzanian, Kenya and Somalian coastlines. Early assessment / detection will allow ships to take evasive measures to prevent boarding and request for assistance."
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More about Somalian pirates, West african coast, Target cape good
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