Less than two weeks after hijacking an oil tanker, Somali pirates have struck again hijacking an Indian cargo ship.
Officials say the pirates hijacked the Indian cargo ship off the coast of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland.
“We understand Somali pirates hijacked a commercial Indian ship and [it is heading] towards Somalia shores,” Abdirizak Mohamed Dirir, a former director of Puntland’s anti-piracy agency, told Reuters news agency.
According to the Directorate General of Shipping, the Indian-flagged ship was heading to Yemen from Dubai when it was hijacked.
“It is not a big ship but a dhow. It was hijacked yesterday and is now sailing towards the shore of Somalia,” DGS Malini Shankar said.
Shankar added that the vessel had 11 Indian crew members on board and that the pirates might only be interested in the cargo on the ship. The details of the cargo are not known yet but since a ransom demand has not been made, it is most likely.
She went on to speculate that there is a possibility of the vessel being released without the cargo once it reaches the shore this evening.
United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which coordinates the management of all merchant ships and yachts in the Gulf of Aden area, collaborated the story. It, however, differed on destination saying the dhow was en route to Bosasso from Dubai having been hijacked “in the vicinity of Socotra”.
UKMTO spokesman said the organization was unable to confirm the location of the vessel or speak specifically to what happened. He, however, identified the vessel as Al Kausar adding that an investigation was ongoing.
Piracy in the Somali waters had reduced over the past few years following extensive international military patrols and support for local fishing communities.
Those fishing communities have in recent time been angered by foreign fishermen who flood into their waters to fish with licenses from the Somali government.
With the poverty rate increasing and the continued dissatisfaction with the government in Mogadishu which recently declared a famine, piracy might be back to stay.