Somali pirates hijacked an Indian cargo ship with 11 crew on board off the coast of Puntland region in Somalia. The vessel was en route from Dubai and Bosasso, but on 30 nautical miles off Hobyo was approached by small fishing boat with one man, who outwit crew that wants provisions and food, but later boarded the vessel and threaten the crew with machine gun. The armed pirate succeeded to take control and to seize the merchant vessel, heaving to Somali coast. The maritime sources identified the vessel as Al Kausar, which was carrying goods such as wheat and sugar to Somalian autonomous province, but on Friday afternoon one of the crew called the shipowner and told that vessel was hijacked. According to officials and shipowner, five gunmen were on board, but no-one from the crew had been hurt.
“There was information that a Indian cargo ship en route to Bosasso from Dubai had been hijacked in the vicinity of Socotra (Island)”, said the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which coordinates the management of all merchant ships and yachts in the Gulf of Aden. “The pirates are on board and were taking the ship and its 11 crew members to Eyl in Puntland”, added the statement of UKMTO.
According to the Senior Indian shipping official Nalini Shankar, who was quoted by BBC, the hijacked vessel was not a big ship, but dhow. The local authorities and Indian foreign ministry are working to solve the problem with the hijacked cargo ship.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs told Reuters that could not confirm the hijack. But the news agency said an Indian government official briefed on the incident confirmed the crew’s number, said they were all Indian, that the vessel was an unmechanised dhow, and that officials were in touch with the Somali government.