Somali pirates take ship, hold 22 crew

2012-04-09 22:43

New Delhi - Somali pirates have hijacked a Dubai-owned vessel and taken 22 crew members including 17 Indian nationals hostage, media reports said on Monday.

The MV Royal Grace, a chemical tanker, which was bound for Nigeria was seized off Oman on March 2, broadcaster CNN-IBN reported.

The news of the hijack emerged on Monday, as the shipowners had not given any information to the families of the crew, the report said.

Besides 17 Indians, three Nigerians, one Pakistani and a Bangladeshi were among the hostages, the report said.

Meanwhile, negotiations were being held for the release of the hostages with Somali pirates, the Headlines Today news channel reported.

The families have appealed to India's Ministry of External Affairs to get the crew released.

Ministry sources told CNN-IBN that it was pursuing the matter through its missions as well as a ministerial panel headed by the Shipping Ministry.

Piracy is rife off the coast of lawless Somalia, where pirates have held many ships and crew members.

The economic costs of piracy have been estimated between $6.6bn and $6.9bn in 2011, according to the Colorado-based One Earth Future Foundation.

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