(CNN) -- Pirates have hijacked a Marshall Islands-flagged ship in the southern Red Sea, the European Union Naval Force Somalia said Monday.
The MT Motivator, a chemical tanker loaded with oil with a crew of 18 Filipino nationals on board, told authorities it was under small arms fire from a pirate attack in the northern Bab Al Mandeb area Sunday, the naval force said.
Attempts to contact the vessel after notification of the attack were unsuccessful, the naval force said.
The International Maritime Bureau, which monitors piracy, reported last month that the overall number of attacks has dropped sharply in the first months of this year compared to a year ago.
It warned, however, that the pirates are stretching their range up to 1,000 nautical miles out to sea from Somalia in response to more international patrols close to shore.