Somali pirates seize ship with 20 passengers on board

The vessel was attacked as it headed to Tanzania from the Comoros.

Brussels: Somali pirates on Wednesday hijacked a merchant ship carrying 20 passengers in the Indian Ocean off east Africa, the European anti-piracy mission said.

The Comoran-flagged vessel, with nine crew, was attacked as it headed to Tanzania from the Comoros, the Indian Ocean archipelago.

"On the morning of 3 November 2010, the master of the MV Aly Zoulfecar reported that pirates were on board," the European Union`s NAVFOR mission said in a statement.

Among those on board the 43-metre-long merchant vessel were 13 people from Tanzania, 12 from Comoros and four from Madagascar.

The UN reported on Tuesday that Somali pirates have increased the number of successful hijackings in 2010, become more violent and expanded their attack zone.

The pirates staged 37 successful hijackings of ships in the first 10 months of 2010, up from 33 in the same period of 2009, the UN report said.