NAIROBI - Gunmen have seized a foreign fishing vessel off the coast of war-torn Somalia, where several pirate attacks have occurred this year, a Kenyan maritime official said on Friday.
The vessel, FV Grego, was seized off northeastern Somalia and is believed to be docked in the coastal port of Berbera, said Andrew Mwangura of the Kenyan branch of the Seafarers’ Assistance Programme.
"The vessel was seized on September 22 by gunmen who accused it of illegal fishing in Somali waters," Mwangura told AFP.
The ship’s nationality and the amount of crew on board was not immediately clear, he added.
The International Maritime Bureau said there had been at least seven pirate attacks this year off Somalia’s 3,700 kilometres of unpatrolled coastline.
Pirate attacks stopped in the second half of 2006 during six months of strict rule by Islamists, who were ousted by Ethiopian and Somali government troops at the end of the year.
Somalia, which lies at the mouth of the Red Sea, has been without an effective government since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre sparked a bloody power struggle.