Ahmedabad/New Delhi: Nearly 100 Indian
sailors have been captured and seven dhows seized by pirates
off Somalia's coast, a shipping association on Tuesday said.
"Around Saturday afternoon we got information that
seven of our vessels were hijacked by Somalian pirates in
mid-sea," Kutch Vahanvati Association (KVA) president Kasam
Ali Bholim said.
"Over 80-100 crew members of these vessels have been
captured. We have already approached the port authorities and
the Director General Shipping in this regard," he said.
"They are trying to locate the ships and make contact
with the pirates. But nothing has materialised till now," the
head of the 140-member KVA said.
"We have lost all communication with the vessel crew.
Neither have the pirates made contact with us. We are just
waiting for information about the vessels," he said.
Bholim said five vessels are from Kutch while two
others are from Porbander and Veraval. He feared that there
could be more vessels hijacked by the Somalian pirates.
According to the Naval headquarters in Delhi, the
abduction of the sailors took place at high seas off the
Somalia coast in the Gulf of Aden a week ago.
"The Shipping Director General has this evening
confirmed the pirate attack on these dhows on the basis of
information received from another dhow that was apparently let
off by Somali pirates after initially holding it captive for a
couple of days," a Navy officer said.
The dhows that were hijacked by the Somali pirates
were identified as MSVs AL Kadri, Al Izaj, Faize Osmani, Sea
Queen, Nar Narayan, Krishna Hyot, Vishwa Kalyan and AKPCT.
"Though these were the names given by the Shipping
Director General's office, some of them needed to be
confirmed. A notice has been issued by the DG Shipping's
office to the Federation of All Indian Sailing Vessels based
at Jamnagar in Gujarat," the officer said.
The hijackings came to light after a dhow, identified
as MSV Arzoo that was freed by the pirates after holding it
captive for a couple of days sailed to Seychelles waters,
anchored there and informed Indian authorities about the
abductions, the officer said.
Arzoo was asked to flee the Gulf of Aden after its
engines broke down and the pirates apparently did not find it
suitable to be used as a mother ship by them, he said.
All the seized dhows and the one that was freed had
recently called on a Somali port to off load goods that were
being shipped there, the officer said.
Owner of M S Narnarayan vessel Dhiraj Thakkar said he
was waiting for the government to take some action.
"We got information (of the capture) from one of the
ships which was able to briefly contact its owner before being
captured," Thakkar said.
First Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2010, 21:19