Three vessels taken in 24 hours

Pirates have hijacked a yacht in the Gulf of Aden, the third vessel to be taken off Somalia within 24 hours, despite the presence of international navies.

Andrew Mwangura, of the East African Seafarers Assistance programme, based in Kenya, said: ‘A yacht was taken on Tuesday night. There were two people on board but we have no other information on that case.’

Pirates also hijacked an Indonesian tugboat used by the French oil company Total off the coast of Yemen and a Turkish cargo ship on Tuesday, Mr Mwangura said.

More than a dozen ships and hundreds of crew are still being held in various pirate hideouts along the Somali coast.