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Latest piracy news (23 September 2011)

(BRUSSELS2) Despite several recent releases, there are still 504 hostages in the hands of Somali pirates as well as 30 merchant ships and 18 small fishing boats, according to the latest report drawn up by the NGO Ecoterra dated September 16.

Attack foiled off Kenya

A Greek-flagged cargo ship, the Pacific Express, escaped an attack by Somali pirates on Tuesday September 20, 180 miles off the port of Mombasa (Kenya). The crew took refuge in the citadel. The intervention of an Italian ship member of NATO's Operation Ocean Shield, the ITS Andrea Doria, made it possible to escape the worst. The pirates went off on a tangent and were not pursued. A fire had started on board the merchant ship, following the pirates' attempt to force the confined space. And the crew of 25 Filipinos and one Ukrainian was evacuated. They are safe and sound and have been transferred to Mombasa, said a press release from NATO anti-piracy headquarters.

A fire broke out on the MV Pacific express following a pirate attack, intervention by an Italian NATO ship (Credit: NATO / Italian Navy)

Mv Hoang Son Sun vessel released 

After 8 months of captivity, Mv Hoang Son Sun was released on September 16. This Vietnamese ship, flying the Mongolian flag, had been reported captured by Somali pirates on January 19, 520 miles southeast of the port of Muscat (Oman). He took the direction of the port of Salalah (Oman).

Pirates suspected of complicity in the kidnapping of a British woman

The kidnapping of a British tourist, on a private beach in Kenya, on September 11, seems to lead to a trail that could link Islamist militias and Somali pirates. In any case, this is the conviction of the British and the Kenyans, who are jointly conducting the investigation on site. Me Tebbut, was kidnapped by an Al Shabab team in the village of Kiwayu near the Somali border, and is currently in Somalia. Her husband, David Tebbutt, financial director of Faber & Faber, tried to resist and was immediately killed.

A maritime piracy analysis center in Seychelles

Seychelles is ready to host a maritime operations and analysis center, Transport and Interior Minister Joel Morgan announced after an international conference on piracy held in the archipelago from September 6 to 9. A proposal that follows conversations with the Contact Group for Piracy off the coast of Somalia, and the International Maritime Organization.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).