Hope is growing for the crew of a D’Alesio bulker newbuilding under siege by pirates off East Africa.


The 23 strong crew of the 55,600-dwt Montecristo (built 2011) successfully reached the vessel’s citadel before pirates boarded, TradeWinds it told.

Two NATO warships are understood to be racing to the aid of the bulker and are expected on scene shortly.

TradeWinds broke news of the attack on the Montecristo yesterday and it has since been widely reported the vessel has been hijacked.

However, despite the fact pirates did successfully board the vessel, there is growing confidence the ship and the crew will escape the drama.

The vessel was hit about 620 miles east of Somalia on Monday morning, D’Alesio has confirmed.

“The last message received from the ship Captain indicated that the vessel has been attacked by a ship with five armed people,” it said.

“The Captain has immediately activated the security operating procedure to prevent the attack,” the company said.

"After 10 hours without news, we can consider the ship hijacked," a spokesman told the AFP news agency yesterday.

The Montecristo only joined the company’s fleet in June after being handed over by Hyundai Mipo in Korea.

It is the first time the Italian owner has been a victim of piracy.

The crew consists of seven Italian, six Ukrainian and 10 Indian seafarers.

The vessel had departed Liverpool in the UK on 10 September with a cargo of scrap iron bound for Vietnam.