Brussels - An unusually large group of 30 to 50 Somali pirates seized an Indonesian vessel and used it in a failed bid to hijack a second ship on Thursday, the EU naval mission said. The pirates hijacked the bulk carrier Sinar Kudus about 320 nautical miles northeast of the island of Socotra on Wednesday morning, the EU anti-piracy mission said. It has 20 Indonesian sailors on board. "Details of the attack are not known at this time but initial reports from the crew stated that 30 to 50 pirates had boarded and taken control of the vessel," the EU Navfor force said in a statement.The Indonesian flagged and owned ship was on its way to Suez, Egypt, from Singapore when it was attacked.The Indonesia ship was then used on Thursday to attack the Liberian-flagged bulk carrier Emperor but the pirates were repelled by an armed security crew after "an exchange of fire," Navfor spokesman Paddy O'Kennedy told AFP.The Emperor was reported safe.
News of the hijacking came at the same time that Tunisia's transport ministry announced Somali pirates had released a chemical tanker hijacked in November after payment of a ransom of $2m . The Hannibal II, with a mostly Tunisian crew of 31, is currently on its way to Djibouti in the Red Sea, the ministry saidTunisia's official TAP news agency, which quoted the ministry, did not say who paid the ransom, or how.- AFP