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German court sentences Somali pirate to 12 years for kidnapping

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German court sentenced a Somali asylum-seeker to 12 years in jail on Thursday, for his involvement in the pirate hijacking of a tanker in the Indian Ocean in 2010. The judge in the Osnabrueck court in northern Germany said the man was guilty of kidnapping and severe extortion. The ship was released for a ransom of $5.5 million after eight months in the hands of Somali pirates.

Taiwan fishermen to use armed guards against pirates in Indian Ocean

Taiwan-registered fishing vessels operating in the pirated-infested waters of the Indian Ocean have obtained permission to hire armed guards on board, the island's fisheries authorities said Tuesday. The Fisheries Agency told Kyodo News the agency has approved applications of some 20 fishing boats operating in waters considered "threatened by piracy or illegal use of force" to hire private armed escorts to counter piracy.

Pirates hijacked tanker off Angola, stole cargo: owners

LISBON/ATHENS (Reuters) - The Greek owners of an oil tanker that vanished off the Angolan coast on January 18 said on Sunday that pirates had hijacked the vessel and stolen a large quantity of cargo, contradicting the Angolan navy's denial that such an assault took place. Greece-based Dynacom, owners of the 75,000 deadweight tonne Liberian-flagged tanker MT Kerala, said it had managed to contact crew on the vessel who reported the pirates had left.

Angola navy says missing tanker located, crew faked pirate attack

LISBON (Reuters) - Angola's navy said on Sunday the crew of an oil tanker that vanished off its coast on January 18 had turned off communications to fake an attack, seeking to calm energy sector fears that the vessel had been hijacked by pirates. Unconfirmed reports that the tanker had been seized raised concern that piracy off West Africa was spreading south from the Gulf of Guinea, near Africa's biggest oil producer Nigeria, where most hijacking gangs are believed to originate.

S. Korea marks 3rd anniversary of Somali pirate operation

BUSAN, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean Navy on Tuesday carried out a combat search and rescue operation as it celebrated the third anniversary of the rescue of Korean sailors from Somali pirates near the Gulf of Aden. Three years ago, Navy commandos on an anti-pirate mission raided a South Korean freighter that had been hijacked by Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea, rescuing all 21 crew members and killing eight pirates. The 300-strong Cheonghae unit has been deployed in the Gulf of Aden since early 2009 as part of global efforts to tackle piracy in the region.

French navy arrests pirates suspected of oil tanker attack

A French navy ship intercepted a hijacked dhow off the coast of Oman, arresting five suspected pirates who had taken hostage an all-Indian crew, French defence officials said Monday. The operation took place after an aborted pirate attack on an oil tanker in the area, the joint defence staff said in a statement. The dhow's 11-member Indian crew were freed. The dhow was suspected to have served as a rear base for the pirates, who launched a failed bid to take over the Nave Atropos, an oil tanker sailing under a flag from the Marshall Islands.

Pirates seize first ship in Somali area since 2012

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Pirates have seized a merchant ship in the Red Sea and have taken it south towards Somali waters in the first successful hijacking in the region since 2012, maritime officials said on Sunday. The vessel, identified as the MV Marzooqah, sent a distress signal on Saturday evening in the Red Sea and was then turned back to the Gulf of Aden, Andrew Mwangura, secretary general of the Seafarers Union of Kenya, told Reuters.

Today in Korean history

Jan. 15 1987 -- Doctor Kim Man-cheol and 10 of his family members leave North Korea's eastern port of Chongjin to defect to South Korea. The family arrived in Seoul on Feb. 8 after passing through Japan and Taiwan. 1990 -- South Korea and Algeria agree to establish diplomatic relations. 2001 -- South Korean golfer Pak Se-ri wins the U.S. LPGA tour.

Kenya says piracy incidents down due to joint patrol

Kenya says piracy incidents down due to joint patrol NAIROBI, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan government said the establishment Anti-Piracy Unit (APU) has significantly reduced piracy incidents along the Indian Ocean coastline. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko also attributed the drop in piracy off the coast of Somalia to the deployment of the foreign and Kenyan navy forces along the Indian Ocean coastline.

France to lead EU operation against piracy off coast of Somalia

France to lead EU operation against piracy off coast of Somalia DJIBOUTI, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- France has assumed the leadership of the European Union operation against piracy off the coast of Somalia, EU NAVFOR-ATLANTA, succeeding the Netherlands. Herve Blejean from the French Navy will now be the commander of the European Union navy, which is involved in efforts to fight against maritime piracy. On the occasion to take over the leadership of the EU navy, Blejean affirmed he will keep the pressure against pirate activities.
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