Italian tanker is hijacked

SOMALI pirates have hijacked a tanker with 18 crew on board, an Italian shipping company said last night.

A statement from the Marnavi company said the Enrico Ievoli was hijacked close to the coast of Oman.

There were six Italians, five Ukrainians and seven Indians on board when the ship came under attack in the early hours of yesterday morning, the statement said. The ship was carrying a cargo of caustic soda to the Mediterranean.

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The Naples-based company says it has notified Italian authorities.

Ransoms for tankers often reach into the millions of dollars and the attack comes days after another Italian vessel was released.

The long coastline of war-ravaged Somalia provides a perfect haven for pirate gangs preying on shipping off East Africa.