Somali pirates seized a United Kingdom-flagged motor vessel Asian Glory in the Gulf of Aden on Friday. The vessel has five Indians on board.
This is the fourth hijacking in the Gulf of Aden in the span of one week.
The Directorate General (DG) of Shipping issued a statement in Mumbai saying the car carrier was hijacked 620 miles off the east coast of Somalia.
“There are 25 multinational crew members of which five are Indian nationals. All crew members are reported to be safe,” said an official with the directorate requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Pirates also seized the Singapore-flagged chemical tanker merchant vessel Pramoni in the Gulf of Aden on the same day. The 20,000-ton chemical tanker was carrying a crew of 24 and was heading to Kandla in Gujarat when it was hijacked.
The crew of Pramoni consists of 17 Indonesians, five Chinese, one Nigerian and one Vietnamese. Another vessel--a chemical tanker St. James Park with five Indians on board--was hijacked on Tuesday in the Gulf of Aden. The vessel has a crew of 26 members.
A day earlier, on Monday, pirates hijacked Greek carrier Navios Apollon, said the office of the DG (shipping). It was heading for Thailand but was diverted to the Somali coast after the hijacking.
Statistics available with the International Maritime Bureau reveal that the number of hijacking cases reported in the Gulf of Aden have increased from 51 — between January and September 2008 — to 100 in 2009. Forty-seven incidents were reported in the Somali coast this year as against 12 last year.
Officials at the directorate said that pirates had abandoned the Gulf of Aden for a while because of heavy patrolling by naval forces.