Pirates hijack tanker with Filipino crew in Red Sea


Pirates have hijacked a tanker with a crew of 18 Filipinos in the southern Red Sea, the EU's naval task force in the region has said.

The tanker Motivator, carrying lubricating oil, reported coming under fire near the strait between the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden on Sunday.

Contact was lost and the vessel was confirmed hijacked on Monday.

An international flotilla has been patrolling the Gulf of Aden to deter an increase in hijackings of shipping.

"The MT Motivator reported it was under small arms fire from a pirate attack in the northern Bab al-Mandeb area in the southern Red Sea," the EU's naval task force, Eunavfor, said.

"After notification of this attack, attempts were made to make contact with the Motivator but to no avail. The hijack was confirmed early on July 5."

Pirates based in Somalia have been using speed boats to attack and seize commercial vessels in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes in order to hold the crews and boats for ransom.

Last year was the most active yet for the pirates, with more than 200 attacks, including 68 successful hijackings and $50m (£33m) paid out in ransoms, according to unofficial figures.