US ship, Liberty Sun, escapes pirate attack while two more vessels are hijacked

Pirates off the coast of Somali remained active on Tuesday despite recent military actions taken by U.S. and French forces in order to free hostages.  A total of 5 pirates were killed between the two incidents.

Tuesday the Liberty Sun, a U.S.-flagged cargo ship bound for Mombasa, Kenya with a crew of 20 Americans was attacked by pirates but managed to escape being hijacked.  A statement issued by the vessels operator, the New York-based Liberty Maritime Corporation, said that the pirates fired rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons at the vessel which sustained damage.  Liberty Maritime immediately requested the assistance of the United States Navy.  The USS Bainbridge responded to the attack but the pirates had departed by the time it arrived some six hours later.  The pirates never made it onto the ship and the vessel is now being escorted by a coalition ship, still bound for Mombasa, according to reports.

In a seperate incident on Tuesday, Somali pirates were able to hijacked the MV Irene EM, a 35,000-ton Greek-owned bulk carrier.  The crew of the MV Irene EM was thought to be unhurt.

Later Tuesday, pirates seized the 5,000-ton MV Sea Horse, a Lebanese-owned and Togo-flagged vessel. Details about the ship and its crew weren’t immediately available.

On Monday, pirates hijacked two Egyptian fishing boats carrying a total of between 18 and 24 people.