MV Al Aqiq, owned by Dubai-based Naseem Al Berrary Shipping Company was hijacked along with its 14-member Indian crew near Hobyo when it was heading for Kisamayu after unloading a part of cargo in Somalia’s restive capital of Mogadishu, sources in Dubai said.
The vessel, according to sources, was taken to an unknown destination and the pirates were demanding ransom. The 1000-ton vessel had departed from Dubai 20 days ago with general cargo.
Meanwhile, MV Mariam Queen, which was hijacked on May 2, in Kisamayu was released yesterday and is currently sailing towards Mogadishu, Andrew Mwangura, of the Kenyan branch of Seafarers’ Assistance Programme told Khaleej Times from Mombasa. Its crew is safe, he said.
“The Somali businessman who chartered the vessel has paid the ransom because it was carrying general cargo,” he said.
About 90 per cent of cargo vessels operating in Somali territorial waters are chartered from Dubai ports. Five UAE vessels have been hijacked in the past two months off the coast of Somalia.
In the wake of hijackings, vessel owners in Dubai are demanding deployment of international forces along the 3,700-km unpatrolled Somali coastline.
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