Pirates seize oil vessel with 11 Indians aboard
New Delhi/London: Striking yet again, Somali pirates have seized a Liberian oil tanker off the coast of Oman with 11 Indians and 15 others on board.
The vessel MT Smyrni, bearing Liberian flag, was hijacked at 4.30 IST two days back in the Arabian Sea, around 600 miles east of Somalia.
"The vessel, managed by one Dynacom Tankers has 26 crew including 11 Indians, 14 Filipinos and one Romanian," a Shipping Ministry official said in New Delhi.
The official said the pirates were in the process of taking the ship carrying 135,000 tonnes of oil to Somalia.
"The Liberian government is in the know of the matter and we are closely watching the developments," he said.
The tanker was reported to be heading for Somalia. This was only the second voyage for the tanker, which first set to sea in 2011.
The tanker's capture comes after a recent fall in the number of hijackings in the region.
It has not been reported, however, whether the Smyrni had such guards on board. EU naval ships are currently on patrol off the Horn of Africa in an effort to protect vessels.
According to the International Maritime Organisation, 17 ships and close to 300 crew are currently held by Somali pirates.