India on Tuesday banned the movement of its mechanised sailing vessels (MSVs or dhows) to the south and west of Salalah in Oman and Male with immediate effect in view of the reported hijacking of at least seven such vessels with 97 Indian sailors on board.
In a statement, the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) said in Mumbai that seven Indian vessels - MSV Al Kadri, MSV Al Ijaz, MSV Faize-e-Osman, MSV Sea Queen, MSV NarNarayan, MSV Vishwa Kalyan and MSV Krishna Jyot - were reported missing and presumed to be hijacked off the Gulf of Aden and Somalia region that are infested by pirates.
There were 97 Indian sailors on the seven vessels, which were hijacked in the past few days, but the exact dates are yet to be ascertained, the statement added.
It was initially reported that 120 sailors had been abducted. The sailors are said to be from Gujarat's Kutch and Saurashtra regions and were bound for the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In the light of these hijackings, the DGS has prohibited the MSVs sailing south and west of a line joining Salalah in Oman and Male in the Maldives with immediate effect.