Danish Yacht Taken

Pirates in the Arabian Sea hijacked a yacht carrying seven Danish passengers, including three children, the Danish government said Monday, in the first reported attack on a small pleasure vessel since four Americans were killed by their pirate captors last week.

Denmark’s approach to the latest hijacking remains unclear. However, Denmark has in the past favored negotiation over taking an aggressive posture toward pirates.

There were seven people aboard the Danish yacht, which was taken on Thursday, including a man and a woman, their three children, 12, 14, and 16, and two crew members, the Danish Foreign Ministry said. The ministry did not explain why it had waited several days to make the announcement; it said relatives of the hostages had been notified.

It was not immediately clear how many pirates boarded the yacht or whether they were Somali. Ecoterra International, a nonprofit maritime group that monitors pirate attacks, said the yacht had been hijacked in the southern part of the Arabian sea, far from the Horn of Africa, but appeared to be heading in the direction of Somalia.

“Naturally, I am deeply concerned over the situation,” the Danish foreign minister, Lene Espersen, said in a statement, adding that “especially as there are children involved and I can only express my utter disdain for the pirates’ actions.”

Governments have pleaded with ship owners and sea-faring vacationers to stick to designated shipping lanes when passing through the Arabian Sea, where pirates continue to strike with impunity, despite the presence of dozens of warships. The United States Navy sometimes provides escorts for convoys and the ships travel in numbers for safety.

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