Sana`a: Yemen`s coast guard says Somali pirates have hijacked a Panamanian cargo ship in the treacherous Gulf of Aden between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa.
A coast guard official says the Red Sea Spirit was carrying an unknown number of crew when it was hijacked on Friday morning 36 nautical miles from the Yemeni port of Balhaf.
He says the ship sent the coast guard a distress signal and a vessel from the international naval force patrolling the pirate-infested region has been dispatched to the area.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to media.
Poverty and hunger in Somalia are driving up the number of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.