Somali pirates hijack Indian commercial vessel
By Abdiqani Hassan
BOSASSO, Somalia (Reuters) – Pirates have hijacked an Indian commercial ship off the coast of Somalia, the second attack in weeks after years of inactivity, industry and security sources said on Monday.
United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which coordinates the management of merchant ships and yachts in the Gulf of Aden area, said it had received information that a dhow en route to Bosasso from Dubai had been hijacked “in the vicinity of Socotra (Island)”.
A spokesman said UKMTO could not confirm the location of the vessel, which he identified as Al Kausar, or what exactly had taken place, and that investigations were continuing.
“We understand Somali pirates hijacked a commercial Indian ship (and it is heading) towards Somalia shores,” Abdirizak Mohamed Dirir, a former director of the anti-piracy agency in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region, told Reuters.
Somali pirates hijacked an oil tanker last month, the first commandeering of a vessel since 2012, but released it after a clash with the Puntland marine force.
Somalis have been angered recently by foreign fishermen flooding into their waters, some of whom have been given licences to operate there by the Somali government.
Graeme Gibbon-Brooks of UK-based Dryad Maritime Security said industry sources had told him the Indian vessel was en route to Bosasso from Dubai when it was hijacked on Saturday.
The pirates were on board and were taking the ship and its 11 crew members to Eyl in Puntland, he said.