Manila: The Philippine government says Somali pirates hijacked a chemical tanker with 21 Filipino crew members near the Gulf of Aden.
Spokesman Raul Hernandez of the Department of Foreign Affairs said the MT Liquid Velvet was seized on Monday as it approached the gulf heading to India. The ship is flagged in the Marshall Islands with Greek ownership.
He said on Thursday the Philippine embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Manama, Bharain, were ordered to monitor the situation and coordinate with the Combined Maritime Forces.
Hernandez said 43 Filipinos on five other vessels are in pirate hands. About a third of the 1.5 million commercial seafarers worldwide are Filipino.
The EU Naval Force says pirates held nine ships and about 250 hostages as of October.