Pirates Capture Ship Carrying Israeli Cargo in Indian Ocean

The Maltese-flagged ship left Ashdod 10 days ago for the Far East with a 11 million dollar shipment of potash.

A ship carrying Israeli cargo from the Ashdod Port to Thailand was stormed by pirates in the Indian Ocean on Monday. There were no Israelis on board.

The ship, named the MV Frigia and flying under a Maltese flag, was carrying between 20,000 to 40,000 tons of potash - valued at $11 million - when it was seized.

The ship arrived in Ashdod two weeks ago delivering a shipment of cargo. While in port, the potash, belonging to ICL, was loaded onto the ship.

ICL is an Israeli fertilizers and chemicals company.

The ship, owned by a Turkish company, left Israeli waters 10 days ago en route to the Far East. After a stop in Port Said in Egypt, the ship was on its way to Thailand when it was hijacked in the Indian Ocean, closer to India than Somalia, according to Indian authorities.

The ship is now being taken to the Somalian city of Eyl, according to Turkish media reports.

The ship has a crew of 21 people - 19 Turks and 2 Ukranians.

Piracy has become increasingly common in recent years off the coast of eastern Africa. Insurance costs for ships have multiplied 20 times because of this threat.

In recent weeks, NATO and EU naval forces have prevented 17 pirate attacks in the area off the coast of Somalia.