Somali pirates seized a small boat and kidnapped its 11-member Indian crew off the coast of Somalia, local officials said on Monday, the second vessel to be snared recently by the region’s resurgent hijackers.The cargo ship, which had set sail from Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, was carrying unidentified goods and fuel when it was seized Saturday near the Somali port of Hobyo, said Mukhtar Ahmed Abdulle, the vice chairman of the local chamber of commerce in Jubbaland, in southern Somalia. The ship was headed to the regional port of Kismayo, Somalia, he said.
Last month, Somali pirates hijacked an oil tanker, the Aris 13, and temporarily detained its Sri Lankan crew, according to The Associated Press, the first hijacking of a large commercial vessel since 2012. The crew and the ship were later released without conditions, Somali officials said at the time.On Monday, the pirates who captured the Indian vessel demanded a ransom for the release of its crew, Mr. Abdulle said, adding that the ship had been diverted to Harardhere, a small town in Mudug Province, which has been used as a staging ground for Somali pirates in the past.
The hijacking of the small dhow, a traditional wooden sailing ship common in regional waters, is reminiscent of the threat to global shipping off the coast of Somalia, where international efforts had helped lessen the threat to cargo vessels in recent years.Lt. Ian McConnaughey, a spokesman for the United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, told The A.P. that he was “aware of the reports, and we are monitoring the situation.” The Fifth Fleet oversees regional anti piracy efforts