The dreaded Somali pirates have extended their operations from the Gulf of Aden waters to the west coast of India, openly using previously hijacked vessels as mother ships, a piracy watchdog body said here.
"The pirates are now rampant in the west coast of India and Maldives, their favourite haunt sued to be the Gulf of Aden in the Arabian Sea," Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting centre, said. "They are now using previously hijacked vessels as their mother ship in open waters," he said here.
He said though there had been instances of pirates attacking off the coast of India the frequency had increased lately and attributed this partly to the end of the monsoon season in September.
He urged vessels plying the international waters to maintain vigil and radar watch and try and steer clear of small boats which looked "out of place" in the open sea, the New Straits Times said. Last week, a ship owned by a Penang-based company was hijacked by somali pirates after sailing around the Seychelles, a distant 900 nautical miles east of the Somali coast.
The ship with 23 crew from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Iran was headed to Mombasa, Kenya from Jebel Ali in the UAE. The hijackers have reportedly not asked for ransom yet. Malaysia says it is taking steps to secure the release of cargo ship.