Pirates seized a U.S.-owned and Italian-flagged tugboat with 16 crew on Saturday in the latest hijacking in the busy Gulf of Aden waterway, a regional maritime group said.REPEAT: Somali pirates have stepped up attacks in March after a lull at the start of 2009.
Andrew Mwangura, of the Mombasa-based East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme, said the crew were believed to be unharmed on the tugboat, which he added was operated from the United Arab Emirates.
He said the tugboat was towing two barges at the time of capture but there were no details on their cargo.
"This incident shows the pirates are becoming more daring and violent," Mwangura told Reuters by phone.
NATO alliance officials on board the Portuguese warship NRB Corte-Real, which is patrolling the Gulf of Aden, said a distress call came from the MV Buccaneer tugboat but communications were lost six minutes later.
They said 10 of the tugboat's crew were Italian citizens.
Somali pirates have stepped up attacks in March after a lull at the start of 2009.
THIS IS NO COINCIDENCE.
- APPEASEMENT ONLY ENCOURAGES THE ENEMY. ALWAYS HAS; ALWAYS WILL.
- THE SOLUTION TO PIRACY IS KILLING AS MANY OF THEM AS WE CAN: BLOWING THEIR SHIPS OUT OF THE WATER; DESTROYING THEIR PORTS; BLOWING UP THE FUEL DEPOTS THEY NEED IN ORDER TO REFUEL.
- WE MUST SHOW THEM AN OVERWHELMING DISPLAY OF BRUTAL FORCE IN DEFENSE OF LIBERTY (YES: THE FREEDOM TO NAVIGATE THE SEA LANES IS ABOUT OUR BASIC HUMAN LIBERTY!).