(CNN) -- Pirates off the coast of Somalia seized two freighters Tuesday, proving they remain a force to contend with just days after the U.S. Navy dramatically rescued an American captain held by other pirates.
First, pirates in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday hijacked the MV Irene EM, a 35,000-ton Greek-owned bulk carrier, according to a NATO spokesman and the European Union's Maritime Security Center.
The crew of the Greek carrier was thought to be unhurt and ships have been warned to stay clear of the area for fear of further attack, the Security Center said.
Later Tuesday, pirates on four skiffs seized the 5,000-ton MV Sea Horse, a Lebanese-owned and Togo-flagged vessel, said Cmdr. Chris Davies of NATO's Maritime Component Command Headquarters in Northwood, England.
Details about the ship and its crew weren't immediately available.
NATO has an ongoing anti-piracy mission off Somalia called Operation Allied Protector. The mission involves four ships covering more than a million square miles, Davies said.
A U.S.-led international naval task force, Combined Task Force-151, is also patrolling in the region.
It is time to stop paying ransoms in a currency other than bullets and missiles. Otherwise you do nothing but encourage these men to continue to engage in piracy. A stern message needs to be sent sooner, rather than later.