Pirates Hijack Cargo Ship with 25 People aboard off India

December 7, 2010

Suspected Somali pirates hijacked a Bangladeshi ship carrying nickel ore in the Arabian Sea and appear headed to the lawless East African nation, officials said Monday.

The Bangladesh-flagged M.V. Jahan Moni appears to have been hijacked Sunday off the Indian coast as it was heading from Singapore to Europe, said Rear Adm. Bazlur Rahman, chief of the Bangladesh Shipping Department.

He said authorities were in touch with several agencies and governments to rescue the ship. They have not been in touch with the suspected pirates, and there has been no demand for ransom, he said.

“This is a difficult situation. We are trying to do whatever we can,” Rahman told The Associated Press by phone.

The 25 Bangladeshis on the cargo ship include the wife of one crewman, said Capt. Habibur Rahman, principal officer of the government’s Mercantile Marine department.

Satellite images showed the ship heading toward Somalia, he said. It had loaded 41,000 tons of nickel ore from Indonesia to reach Greece via Singapore.

Somali pirates currently hold 22 ships and 521 crew, according to the European Union Naval Force. Hostages and ships have been held for months and released only for multimillion-dollar ransoms.

Somalia has been mired in anarchy since 1991, enabling piracy to thrive off its Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden coasts. A multinational force patrols the seas, but the vast distances and pirates’ ability to attack further offshore mean hijackings have continued.

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