Pirates hijack Bangladeshi ship with 25 crew

Somali pirates hijacked a Bangladeshi freighter with 25 crew on-board in the Arabian Sea.

Last Updated: Dec 07, 2010, 00:36 AM IST

Dhaka: Somali pirates hijacked a
Bangladeshi freighter with 25 crew on-board in the Arabian Sea
off the coast of India and appeared headed for lawless east
African nation of Somalia.

The MV Jahan Moni carrying nickel ore and heading from
Singapore to Europe was boarded by Pirates off the Indian
coast.

"We fear the ship has been captured by Somali
pirates," Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan told newsmen.

He said, the ship may take four days to reach the
African coast.

He said 25 Bangladeshi seamen and wife of one of
them were onboard the MV Jahan Moni when the pirates captured
it at about 3.45 pm from a location 170 nautical miles off
India`s Lakshawadeep and 300 nautical miles off Cochin Port.

"They (pirates) may initiate negotiations once they
reached the coast," Khan said.

Khan said Bangladesh requested Indian Coast Guard
and Dubai-based Coastal Unit to keep a vigil on the ship,
which was bound for Greece fro Indonesia with 43,150 tonnes of
Nickel.

"The government has taken all required steps to
rescue the ship along with the passengers or crew onboard. We
have informed different concerned international
organisations," he said.

The minister did not elaborate how he expected the
rescue missions could be led but added that "there are
examples when pirates quit the ships or navies recapture
them."

Shipping Department officials said 31 ships came
under pirate attack in the Arabian Sea in the past 11 months
while they could retain control over 24 of them.

Earlier reports said the ship was attacked twice on
yesterday before being boarded by heavily-armed pirates while
director general of shipping retired rear admiral Bazlur
Rahman said master of the ship tried to protect it for two
hours barring pirates to get onboard.

"During the period, signals and distress calls were
made through the ship’s alert system," he said.

Officials said Somali pirates are making tens of
millions of dollars in ransoms from seizing ships in the
Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, though Sunday`s hijack
happened around 3,000 km east of Somalia.

The US and other navies have deployed dozens of
warships to patrol off east Africa but have failed to stem
piracy, one of the few thriving businesses in Somalia, a
country devastated by war and poverty.

PTI