News24

Pirates take ship at Seychelles

2010-04-12 20:23

New Delhi - A cargo ship with 26 crew members including 11 Indians was hijacked by Somali pirates near the Seychelles, local media reports said on Monday.

The vessel MV Rak Afrikana belonging to a United Arab Emirates company was seized by pirates en route to Zanzibar, India's Directorate-General of Shipping based in Mumbai said, the PTI news agency reported.

"We have received information that a general cargo ship with 26 crew members including 10 Tanzanians, five Pakistanis and 11 Indians has been hijacked near the Seychelles en route to Zanzibar on 11th April morning," a senior official from the directorate told PTI.

The ship is believed to have been taken to the Somali coast by pirates.

"The Directorate of Shipping is in contact with the managers of the vessel for regular updates and measures initiated for the early and safe release of the crew and vessel," the official added.

Somali pirates seized 11 vessels with over 120 Indians on board during the past fortnight.

Of them, five vessels have been released along with 67 Indians while an Indian sailor died during rescue operations by the navies of the US and Oman in which eight Indian sailors were rescued, the report said.

Repeated attacks on Indian vessels had also prompted the Indian government to issue a warning to owners of cargo vessels about the dangers, particularly along the sea-lanes of Salalah and Male.

The number of attacks by pirates in the Gulf of Aden and further out in the Indian Ocean in 2009 was almost double the 2008 figure, according to the International Maritime Bureau.