Wed, Apr 12, 2017 - Page 6 News List

Somalia recovers hijacked ship, eight crew missing

AFP, MOGADISHU

Somalian security forces have liberated an Indian cargo ship from the pirates who hijacked it, but only two of the 10-man crew were rescued, authorities in central Somalia said on Monday.

Hobyo Commissioner Abdulahi Ahmed Ali told reporters that the Al Kauser had been held off the Indian Ocean coast near Yemen after the hijacking on March 31.

“We have the boat and two of the crew members, but eight other members of the crew are still missing because the pirates took them off the boat,” Ali said.

He said the two rescued crew members from India were healthy and that authorities were seeking their colleagues.

Their abductors are believed to be holding them near Hobyo.

The pirates had “refused a call by local authorities to release the vessel and local forces forcefully engaged them,” local security official Qoje Abdulahi said by telephone.

Somalian security forces exchanged fire with the hijackers, who fled to the shore aboard a fast boat, taking eight of their hostages with them, Ali said.

The Al Kauser was the third vessel seized by pirates in less than a month off the coast of Somalia, with experts warning that ships have lowered their guard in the five years since the height of the piracy crisis.

The Indian ship was carrying wheat and sugar from Dubai via Yemen to Somalia’s Bossaso port when it came under attack, owner Isaak Them said.

Kutch Seafarers Association president Adam Them, from the western state of Gujarat where the vessel originated, said last week that the pirates had made ransom demands.

Somalian pirates began staging attacks in 2005, seriously disrupting a major international shipping route and costing the global economy billions of dollars.

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