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Hijacked vessels with 95 Indians traced

April 05, 2010 17:22 IST

Nine hijacked vessels, carrying 95 Indians, have been traced to Mogadishu off Somalia and efforts are being made to secure their release, official sources said on Monday.

Somali pirates, who seized 11 dhows (slow-moving vessels) over the past 10 days have released two boats with 26 Indians on board and the government believes the remaining hostages are safe.

The nine vessels, along with 95 Indians, still in captivity of the pirates, have been traced to Mogadishu off Somalia, an official of the Shipping Ministry told PTI.

The government is in constant touch with Indian High Commissions in Seychelles and Nairobi to secure their safe release.
India has approached Somalian government for help to ensure release of the captured dhows.

"We believe the captured Indians are safe as the pirates have not caused any harm to the seafarers on board two Dhows released so far," he said.

Pirates have so far released two Indian Dhows. Six Indian Dhows with 78 seafarers and three foreign vessels with 17 Indian crew are still in the custody of Somali pirates.

Repeated attacks on Indian vessels prompted the government to issue warning to warning to Dhows about the dangers in those waters, particularly along the sea-lanes of Salalah and Male.

The merchandise conducted on seas is worth about $110 billion annually, with Indians being the major players.

India has positioned a naval warship in the Gulf of Aden region since October 2008 to provide escort to its merchant ships. However, the latest hijackings took place far from the Gulf of Aden, indicating that the pirates are operating much beyond.

Sources said there were indications that the pirates were operating in south of the Indian Ocean as Maldives has spotted some of them.
 

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