Pirates hijack small boat with 11 Indian sailors onboard off Somali coast

Indian ship hijacked with 11 onboard by pirates in Somalia

Mogadishu: Somali pirates have seized an Indian cargo ship and 11 crew members, the ship's owner said Monday, as a recent series of hijackings raises fears of a resurgence in piracy.

He said the hijackers want a ransom for the crew.

In a separate incident that highlights increased pirate activity, UKMTO said on its website that early on Monday, six skiffs had approached a vessel and that ladders and hooks were sighted. The 5th Fleet oversees regional anti-piracy efforts. One expert said some in the region had let down their guard as the situation calmed.

It has been learned that armed Somali pirates were responsible for the hijack.

A pirate who only gave his name as Aden told Reuters by phone from the town of Harardheere: "The pirate leader on board heard Galmudug forces advancing to attack it".

"We hope the crew and the vessel would be released soon", NUSI general secretary Abdulgani Serang said. He told AFP last month that while the worldwide community had taken steps to boost security, "the one thing that's not really been addressed is the real root cause of this, which is poverty and the lack of jobs on the ground". "But finally we found that there were 10 members in the vessel", the official said.

Muse Osman Yusuf, district commissioner in the Puntland port of Eyl, said this evening that the authorities were ready to confront whoever had seized the Indian dhow.

In the prime of the crisis in 2011, there were over 220 attacks and the annual cost of piracy was estimated to be up to eight billion euros.

Pirates in the area usually hijack ships to demand ransoms and while that has decreased since 2012, the last two incidents are not goods news for ships using those routes.

Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry said in a statement it was in touch with shipping agents and officials overseas for more information to help ensure the crew's "safety and welfare".

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