Pirates Rob Ships' Crews Off Basra

Gunmen robbed the crews of four ships anchored off Iraq's southern oil hub of Basra last week, in Iraqi regional waters patrolled by the U.S. Navy, a Navy official said on Sunday.

The attackers targeted the Antigua-flagged Arminia, North Korea's Crystal Wave, Syria's Sana Star and the American ship Sagamore last Sunday and took personal belongings from the crews, Lieutenant John Fage of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet said, according to Reuters.

"All four attacks occurred from roughly 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. on August 8," Fage said.

According to Reuters, the robberies took place about 145 km (90 miles) from the port of Basra, one of Iraq's largest cities and the heart of the oil industry.  Associated Press situates the attacks about 20 miles (32 kilometers) off the port of Umm Qasr in an area patrolled jointly by the U.S. Navy and Iraqi sailors.

Seaborne attacks have been very rare in Iraq.

(Source: Associated Press, Reuters)

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