BRUSSELS - Pirates armed with machine-guns hijacked a Norwegian chemical tanker off the coast of Somalia today, less than 24 hours after a smaller Greek-owned vessel was seized in the same area.
The U.S. 5th Fleet, which patrols the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden, confirmed both hijackings.
The European Union's military spokesman says the 23,000-ton Norwegian-owned Bow Asir was captured 400 kilometres off the Somali coast this morning.
Norway's shipowners association said the Bow Asir had a crew of 27 with a Norwegian captain, but the 5th Fleet said there were 23 crew on board.
The 9,000-ton Greek-owned Nipayia, with 19 crew members, was seized 720 kilometres off Somalia on Wednesday afternoon.
Both vessels are chemical tankers but specific information on their cargoes has not been released.