updated 3/26/2009 12:24:37 PM ET 2009-03-26T16:24:37

The European Union said on Thursday that two European-owned chemical tankers had been hijacked off the Somali coastline in the past 24 hours.

A statement by the bloc's naval headquarters in Northwood, Britain, said a 9,000-ton Greek-owned vessel with 19 crew members was attacked approximately 450 miles east of the coast Wednesday afternoon.

It said that a 23,000-ton Norwegian-owned vessel was seized 250 miles east of Somalia on Thursday morning.

The Norwegian Shipowners' Association said in a statement Thursday that the Bow Asir was hijacked by 16 to 18 pirates. It said the ship had a crew of 27 with a Norwegian captain.

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