SUSPECTED pirates attacked and hijacked a Singapore-flagged vessel off the Kenyan coast in the pirate-infested waters off east Africa on Saturday evening.

The fate of the 17 crew on board the York, said to comprise 14 Filipinos, two Ukrainians and a German, remained unknown last night. It was also unknown as of Sunday night if the suspected pirates have made demands.

Checks with the owner of the ship, York Maritime Company, revealed that it had yet to hear from the crew, which sent out a distress signal at about 8.25pm on Saturday.

But Reuters reported that a pirate who identified himself as Hassan had told the news agency that the tanker, which had been carrying liquefied petroleum gas, was heading for a Somali coastal pirate base.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said yesterday that the suspected pirates boarded the vessel about 90 nautical miles (167km) from Mombasa, Kenya.

The York was then headed for Mahe in the Seychelles after unloading its consignment in Mombasa.

S'pore vessel hijacked