KALININGRAD, November 1 (RIA Novosti) - A Thai-flagged fishing vessel with 23 Russians on board that was captured by pirates has been taken to Somalia, a representative of the Singaporean owner said on Sunday.
"To our knowledge, the ship reached the coast of Somalia last night. The tuna boat has now stopped moving," Sayan Fishing spokesman Sergei Ivanov said.
The Thai Union 3 with 23 Russians, two Filipinos and two Ghanaians on board was hijacked by two pirate skiffs about 370 km (200 nautical miles) north of the Seychelles on Thursday. The captain had called for help, but a British Royal Navy frigate that was in the area was not able to reach the boat before the pirates took control.
Sayan Fishing said on Friday it was willing to negotiate with the pirates after the ship reached a Somali port, although Ivanov did not say if talks had already begun.
"I can only report that all crew members are alive and well. It would be premature to talk about anything else," the Kaliningrad-based official said.
It is expected that negotiations will begin on Monday. An International Transport Workers' Federation official said on Friday that the pirates had so far not demanded a ransom.
Investigators in the Kaliningrad Region, where all the Russians on board are from, have opened a criminal case for abduction by an organized group.
According to the International Maritime Bureau, the number of pirate attacks on ships worldwide in the first nine months of 2009 is up on last year. From January to September this year there were 306 pirate attacks against 293 in the same period of 2008.
So far this year, there have been over 150 pirate attacks on commercial vessels in the Gulf of Aden and off the east coast of Somalia. The war-ravaged country has been without an effective government since 1991.