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4/14/09

Pirates seize 2 ships off Somalia

Pirates off the coast of Somalia hijacked a second freighter Tuesday, a NATO spokesman said.
A Kenyan police officer guards the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama at a Mombasa port Sunday.

A Kenyan police officer guards the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama at a Mombasa port Sunday.

Pirates on four skiffs seized the 5,000-ton MV Sea Horse, a Lebanese-owned and Togo-flagged vessel, Cmdr. Chris Davies said from NATO's Maritime Component Command Headquarters in Northwood, England.

Earlier Tuesday, pirates hijacked the MV Irene EM, a 35,000-ton, Greek-owned bulk carrier in the Gulf of Aden, Davies and the European Union's Maritime Security Center said.

The crew of the Greek carrier was thought to be unhurt, and ships have been warned to stay clear of the area for fear of further attack, the security center said.

NATO has an ongoing anti-piracy mission off Somalia called Operation Allied Protector. The mission involves four ships covering more than 1 million square miles, Davies said.

A U.S.-led international naval task force, Combined Task Force-151, also is patrolling in the region.

The two hijackings Tuesday follow the killing by U.S. Navy SEALs of three pirates who were holding an American ship captain hostage.

Pirates attacked the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama last week. They seized its captain, Richard Phillips, and held him hostage on a lifeboat after their attempt to hijack the ship failed.

U.S. Navy snipers on Sunday fatally shot three pirates, rescued Phillips and arrested a fourth pirate. Video Watch the tough tactics the Navy uses »

U.S. law enforcement authorities are discussing what to do with the lone surviving pirate, who may be as young as 16.

The crew of the Maersk Alabama will reunite soon.
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Phillips is on the USS Bainbridge headed to Mombasa, Kenya, a military spokesman said, where his crew members were relaxing at a beach resort under the watchful eyes of the Kenyan military.

The men then are expected to be flown home together by Maersk.

CNN.COM

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