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Italian cargo ship evades pirates

April 30, 2009 at 7:23 AM

MOGADISHU, Somalia, April 30 (UPI) -- An Italian-flagged merchant ship evaded an attack by Somali pirates and its 24-person crew was unharmed, shipping line officials said.

The Jolly Smeraldo was about 300 miles southeast of Mogadishu when a small boat with seven pirates approached it Wednesday, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Thursday.

The pirates fired shots at the Jolley Smeraldo, but the crew escaped injury and the ship made evasive maneuvers to escape the hijack attempt, the news agency reported.

The merchant ship left port in Kenya Tuesday, headed for Jeddah, Saudia Arabia, before returning to Genoa.

On Saturday, the Italian cruise ship Melody evaded an attack by pirates 200 miles north of the Seychelles.

The Buccaneer, another Italian ship, was seized in the Gulf of Aden April 11, and its 16-member crew is still being held hostage.

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