Fate of crew members of ship hijacked near Somalia still unknownMay 20th, 2008 - 11:09 am ICT by admin
By Aroonim Bhuyan
Dubai, May 20 (IANS) The fate of 12 crew members, including Indians, of a vessel carrying Danish aid to Somalia, which was hijacked near the coast of the African nation’s capital Mogadishu Saturday, remains unknown. An official of the Jordanian-owned Dubai-based shipping company, which owns the vessel MV Victoria, said that efforts to establish contact with the pirates suspected to have hijacked the vessel have failed so far.
“We are in touch with the Somali government. But until now, we could not establish contact with the pirates and we don’t know their demands,” Mohammed Ali Clay, marketing manager of Marwan Shipping Company, told the Khaleej Times newspaper.
“We are monitoring the situation. So far we do not have any leads,” he said.
Apart from an unknown number of Indians, the other crew members hail from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kenya and Tanzania.
The ship, headed from India, was carrying 4,200 tonnes of sugar donated by Denmark to war-torn Somalia as aid.
The hijacking of MV Victoria is the third such incident to be reported in Somalia in the last five months.
“Pirates on three small boats boarded the Jordanian-flagged vessel and she is now moving north towards Hobyo some 500 km north of Mogadishu,” Andrew Mwangura, programmes coordinator of the Seafarers Assistance Programme, a Kenyan association for workers in the marine industry, told Kenya’s Nation Media newspaper.
The ship was seized early Saturday morning 40 nautical miles off Mogadishu.
“We are trying to establish contact with the pirates. So far they have not demanded any ransom. We suspect that a pirate group called ‘Somali Marine’ is behind the hijacking,” the Khaleej Times quoted Mwangura as saying.