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Pirates demand ransom after 'hijacking' Yemen-bound Indian ship Open in fullscreen

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Pirates demand ransom after 'hijacking' Yemen-bound Indian ship

Yemen's Red Sea coast has been the focal point of intense battle recently [AFP]

Date of publication: 3 April, 2017

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Reports suggest an Indian ship was hijacked by alleged pirates on Monday and was headed towards the Somali coastline.
An Indian commercial ship was hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia, according to a former government anti-piracy official.

The ship was understood to hold 11 crew members on board and was reportedly transiting from Dubai to Somalia, via the port city of Mukalla in Yemen.

The vessel was allegedly attacked by an individual small boat on Saturday, however the owners confirmed the news on Monday, according to journalist Harun Maruf. 

"We understand Somali pirates hijacked a commercial Indian ship and (it is heading) towards Somalia shores," Abdirizak Mohamed Dirir, a former director of the anti-piracy agency in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region, told Reuters.

The president of the Kutch Seafarers Association, Adam Them, from the western state of Gujarat where the vessel originated, told AFP that the pirates had already made ransom demands.  

"We got a call from one of the crew members today that the pirates have demanded money from the owners of the goods in the vessel," he said. 

"Negotiations are on. The crew member further informed that five gunmen were on-board the vessel ... However, nobody has been hurt."

The 'al-Kausar' is the third vessel to be hijacked in less than a month off the coast of Somalia as experts warn that ships have lowered their guard in the five years since the height of the piracy crisis.

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