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Somali pirates hijack Yemeni cargo ship

ADEN, Yemen (Reuters) - Somali pirates have seized a cargo vessel off the coast of Yemen, and are believed to be holding the crew of nine Yemeni sailors, Yemen's Defense Ministry website said Tuesday.

The Yemeni ship was captured by the Somali pirates after setting sail from the Yemeni port of Mukalla on its way to the port of Aden, the Interior Ministry said, without saying what the ship was carrying or when it was seized.

Yemen's coast guard said it had information indicating that the vessel was being held at a northern Somali port. The coast guard was now making efforts to get the ship released, said the Defense Ministry website.

Heavily armed Somali pirates have increased their attacks in recent months, making tens of millions of dollars in ransoms by hijacking ships in the Indian Ocean and the strategic Gulf of Aden, through which an estimated 7 percent of world oil consumption passes.

(Reporting by Mohamed Mokhashef in Aden and Erika Solomon in Dubai; writing by Erika Solomon)

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