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Pakistani vessel becomes 4th ship to be hijacked by Somali pirates in a month: Report

Pakistan is yet to confirm the report. (Representative image) Photograph: (Zee News Network)

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 04, 2017, 09.53 PM (IST)

A Pakistani-owned cargo vessel has been hijacked by Somali pirates, a day after an Indian commercial vessel was similarly commandeered by the buccaneers.

This was the fourth ship waylaid by Somali pirates in the last month.

The Pakistani cargo vessel was carrying food when they were captured by the pirates, New York Times reported.

The number of crew on the ship named 'MV Salama 1' remains unknown.

Pakistan is yet to confirm the report.

Piracy on the high seas near off Somalia had reached its peak between 2008 and 2012, but had since subsided.

At the peak of the piracy crisis in January 2011, 736 hostages and 32 boats were held. 

But analysts believe the resurgence of piracy is owing to the growing influence of Islamic State, corruption, drought and famine. 

The latest hijack comes as Somali officials said the Indian ship that was seized last week was in the notorious El Hur area of central Somalia.

The pirates are holding the eleven crew members on the Indian ship for ransom.

The Indian cargo ship was carrying items such as wheat and sugar from Dubai via Yemen to Somalia's Bossaso port when it came under attack, owner Isaak Them told AFP.

The New York Times also suggested that the recent pirates hail from Puntland in central Somalia, a semi-autonomous region where the government's powers have been swamped by powerful syndicates.

Last month, the buccaneers had captured a Sri Lankan oil tanker, but later released the crew with no conditions. A few days later, they caught a large fishing vessel so that they could use it as a floating base to capture even bigger ships.

"We have seen a number of attacks over last few weeks which seems to confirm what we have always thought - that the pirates haven't gone away but have merely been doing other things," said John Steed -- a former British army officer with Oceans Beyond Piracy, who has spent years negotiating the release of piracy hostages in Somalia.

He attributed the resurgence to a "reduction in precautions taken by shipping companies" such as travelling without armed guards, closer to shore and at slower speeds than recommended.

(WION with inputs from AFP)




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