U.S. and German navy ships have cornered Somali pirates
who seized a Japanese-owned chemical tanker more than a month ago and are demanding a ransom, an official said.
The Panama-registered Golden Nori was carrying benzene from Singapore to Israel when it was hijacked on Oct. 28, just off Somalia
, one of the world's most dangerous shipping lanes.
At the time, U.S. Navy said coalition naval forces had pursued the pirates, opening fire and destroying speedboats the hijacked vessel had in tow.
The U.S. Navy, which has had a long presence in the region, is concentrating its anti-piracy efforts along the central coast of Somalia after several ships were hijacked there in recent months.
Deprived of central government since 1991, Somalia has gained a reputation for its piracy, despite calls for international action to patrol its waters.