An Indian-registered cargo dhow has been seized by suspected Somali pirates, the European Union Naval Force and a piracy expert said on Monday.
The ship is now in the vicinity of Hobyo in north-central Somalia, according to EU Navfor, which runs anti-piracy operations in the area.
“An EU Naval Force maritime patrol aircraft has confirmed the exact location of the dhow and has attempted to establish radio communications, but without success,” the statement said.
Piracy expert John Steed from the organisation Oceans Beyond Piracy said MS Al Kausar had been seized off the Yemeni island of Socotra on Saturday and had 10 Indian crew on board.
Shipping Ministry officials in New Delhi confirmed that a ship had been seized by pirates, but said they did not know the number of crew on board.
“It’s not a regular ship, but a smaller ship, a dhow. Ministry officials just have preliminary information,’’ Spokeswoman Neeta Prasad said.
“The Indian authorities seem to be in touch with the pirates,” Steed said, but Indian officials did not confirm that.
“Investigations and operations are ongoing,” EU Navfor said.
The hijacking was the second by suspected Somali pirates in less than a month. In March, pirates released a fuel tanker with Sri Lankan crew after Somali maritime police intervened.
That incident was the first hijacking of a commercial vessel off Somalia since 2012.
International patrols and the presence of security guards on board vessels have dissuaded pirates. (dpa/NAN)