Ship hijacked with 10 Indian aboard faces attack

May 21st, 2008 - 5:19 pm ICT by admin  

By Aroonim Bhuyan
Dubai, May 21 (IANS) Local leaders in Somalia have said they would attack a ship with 10 Indian crew members on board that was hijacked off the coast of Mogadishu last Saturday, if the pirates did not respond to calls to release the ship. “Islamic leaders in the village of Murgane have said they would attack the ship if the hijackers don’t respond to their calls to release the ship,” Andrew Mwangura, programme coordinator of the Seafarers Assistance Programme, a Kenyan association for workers in the marine industry, told IANS Wednesday from Mombasa, Kenya.

“No communication has been established with the hijackers as yet,” he added.

MV Victoria, hijacked early Saturday morning off Mogadishu, has been traced to the village of Murgane, 500 km north of the Somalian capital.

Owned by the United Arab Emirates-based Marwan Shipping company and flying the Jordanian flag, the vessel is carrying 21 crew members of whom 10 are Indians while the others are from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kenya and Tanzania.

The ship, headed from Mumbai in India, was carrying 4,200 tonnes of sugar donated by Denmark to war-torn Somalia as aid when it was seized 40 nautical miles off Mogadishu.

The hijacking of MV Victoria is the third such incident to be reported in Somalia in the last five months.

Meanwhile, India has got in touch with Jordan to help secure the release of the ship.

“Indian authorities are in touch with Jordan’s foreign ministry and transport ministry regarding the hijacked ship MV Victoria,” a diplomatic source told IANS Tuesday from the Jordanian capital Amman.

The US Navy has also offered to help rescue the vessel.

According to a statement issued in Mumbai by the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS), the Maritime Liaison Office Commander, US Naval Forces-Central Command, Bahrain, has offered all possible help to free the vessel and the crew members held hostage.

The DGS has approached the ministry of transport in Jordan, requesting their cooperation to resolve the issue.

The Indian Coast Guard’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, Mumbai, is also coordinating with the search and rescue agencies in Yemen, Seychelles and Norway to alert their counterparts to initiate necessary action against the piracy and furnish relevant information, the DGS said.

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