Somalia: Pirates Attack Italian Ship

10/10/2011 05:46 pm ET | Updated Dec 10, 2011

ROME — State TV in Italy says pirates have attacked an Italian cargo ship carrying 23 crew members in waters off Somalia.

The ship's owner, D'Alessio Group, said five armed men conducted the attack Monday morning. But to protect the crew, the company said it would not provide any other details.

Therefore, it was not known if the pirates had boarded the ship or taken hostages.

Pirates flourish off largely lawless Somalia by attacking passing ships, taking hostages and demanding ransoms to free them and the vessels.

D'Allesio's statement said the attack on its Montecristo ship occurred 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) off Somalia as the crew – seven Italians, six Ukranians and 10 Indians – was hauling scrap iron to Vietnam on a journey that began Sept. 20 in Liverpool, England.