Mexican authorities search for 2 missing Americans in the Gulf of California in an area near the Mexican border in Nuevo Laredo, Texas, U.S. August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo
BEIJING (Reuters) – A U.S. cargo freighter reported on Sunday it had been hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia and was still afloat, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
A statement issued on Sunday by the Mexican Navy’s Naval Special Operations command said the freighter had left Somalia on Aug. 1 and was carrying a load of food, medicine and supplies for Mexican citizens living in the southern Gulf of California.
Somali pirates have targeted U.S. ships in recent years, including a crew member onboard the Maersk Alabama, which was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2016. That crew member was rescued the following year after a six-month hijacking, but others in the group were later kidnapped by pirates.
The U.S. Navy said on Sunday that the hijacking occurred on Aug. 3 off Somalia’s coast and the ship was one of about a dozen to have been hijacked in the Gulf of Somalia, off the coast of Somalia.
Last week, the U.S. Coast Guard said it had rescued a crew member of a cargo ship in the Gulf of California that was hijacked by Somali pirates.
U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to take a tougher approach to foreign pirate gangs operating off the Somali coast, saying in August he would consider sending U.S. Coast Guard ships to patrol U.S. waters there.
The latest incident comes at the same time as the government of Venezuela is at war with opposition leader Juan Guaido and is demanding the U.S. government recognize it as the country’s legitimate leader.