KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - A maritime officials say pirates have seized two ships off the coast of Somalia and are holding 45 crew members hostage.
One of the ships is a British-flagged chemical tanker with a crew of 26. The European Union's anti-piracy force says the St James Park was seized while traveling along a shipping lane in the Gulf of Aden that is patrolled by the international naval force.
It's the first merchant vessel to have been hijacked there in nearly six months.
Three hours after the St James Park was hijacked, pirates seized a Panamanian-flagged carrier with 19 crew members off Somalia's southern coast.
The chief of the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Malaysia says the two hijackings show that the pirates are relentless in their pursuit of quick ransom money and ship owners need to take extra precautions when sailing near the Horn of Africa.