Tags: somalia | pirates | hijack | multiple

Somali Pirates Hijack Multiple Vessels

Wednesday, 31 Mar 2010 08:58 AM


NEW DELHI — India is investigating the hijacking of several boats off the coast of Somalia amid news reports that eight vessels and 120 Indian sailors have been seized.

The news comes as Somali pirates are significantly steeping up their activities in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean with several high-profile shootouts and the highjackings of crafts from dhows to cargo ships.

"There is truth in the fact some boats have been hijacked but we still don't know how many and when," a military source told AFP asking not to be named.

The Times of India newspaper and CNN-IBN television network said the eight vessels were on their way from Somalia to Dubai when they were hijacked, adding that the sailors were from the western state of Gujarat, which has a large fishing boat fleet.

"They had anchored last in the rebel territory of Kismayo in Somalia where they loaded cargo into their boats. But moments after leaving the port, pirates captured them," the Times of India said on its website.

No ransom demand has been made so far, the newspaper said, citing unnamed sources, while the ships are believed to be near the Seychelles.

The military source told AFP that the Indian navy was working with Indian shipping authorities, as well as foreign navies around the coast of Somalia, to confirm details of the hijackings.

Somali pirates, targeting one of the world's busiest maritime trade routes, raked in an estimated 60 million dollars in ransoms last year.

Indian ships and ships with Indian crew have often been the target of hijackings, though the capture of 120 sailors would be one of the largest raids.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.


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