Hijacked vessel with S. Koreans aboard heading toward Somalia: official

SEOUL (ANTARA News/Yonhap-OANA) - The Singaporean chemical tanker hijacked by pirates with four South Koreans on board is heading toward the Somali coast, a foreign ministry official said Monday.

The 21,000-ton MT Gemini, carrying a crew of 25, was hijacked on Sunday in waters off Kenya after it had departed from Indonesia. The South Koreans on board include the 56-year-captain only identified by his surname, Park, according to the foreign ministry here.

The other three are all in their 50s, the ministry official said, adding that Singapore will handle the hijacking even though Seoul has also set up a task force that would monitor the situation concerning the safety of its nationals.

"We will have to continue to look at how the negotiations between the ship`s Singaporean owner and the pirates unfold," the official said.

The hijacking is the latest in a series of such cases involving South Koreans in the pirate-infested region.(*)