Pirates capture British cargo ship

A British cargo ship was hijacked by Somali pirates today.

The Malaspina Castle is Italian-operated and flies a Panamanian flag. No details were given of the crew by government officials in Kenya who reported the attack.

A Taiwanese ship the MV Win Far 161 was also seized near an island in the Seychelles, the second attack in that area within a week.

The Taiwanese raid is the latest in a series of attacks in the Indian Ocean. Analysts say the pirates have moved many of their operations out of the Gulf of Aden, which is heavily patrolled by naval warships from countries as diverse as China, the United States, France and India. Instead, they are attacking off the east African coast, targeting ships coming out of the Mozambican channel.

The multimillion-dollar ransoms are a huge source of cash in Somalia, where nearly half the population is dependent on food aid and clan-based militias are tearing the country apart.

The lawless Horn of Africa nation has not had a functioning government since 1991.

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