The European Union Naval Force patrolling the waters off Somalia says the cargo vessel MV Sinin has been hijacked by Somali pirates.
On Saturday the crew of the bulk carrier sent out a distress signal saying the ship was under attack whilst sailing 350 nautical miles east of Oman in the northern Arabian Sea.
An aircraft from the Combined Maritime Forces responded and photographed two suspected pirate skiffs aboard the vessel.
“There has been no communication with the ship since the distress signal was sent, and the MV Sinin has now changed course toward the Somali coast,” the EU Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) said. “There is no information on the condition of the crew.”
The Maltese-flagged MV Sinin was on the way from Singapore to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates when it came under attack. It had 13 Iranian and 10 Indian crew on board. The vessel is managed by Irano Hind Shipping in Tehran, Iran.
This is the third successful hijacking in a week. On February 9 the MV Irene SL, a Greek-flagged and Panamanian owned tanker carrying 266 000 tons of crude oil, was hijacked in the Arabian sea.
On February 8, Pirates attacked and boarded the Italian-flagged and owned oil tanker MV Savina Caylyn in the Indian Ocean, with 22 crew on board. The ship was heading from Sudan to Malaysia when it came under small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire. It is being tracked by the Cosmo-SkyMed satellites operated by the Italian space agency and is heading for the Somali coast.
In a separate incident on Saturday the 12th, the Danish warship HDMS Esbern Snare stopped a suspicious vessel with two skiffs on its deck. After firing warning shots, a boarding party searched the vessel and found equipment used for pirating ships, including boarding ladders, automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades. 14 suspected pirates were arrested.
The Yemeni fishing vessel had been hijacked a year before and used as a mother ship. Of the original crew of nine fishermen, most had been released and only two were still being kept aboard the vessel as hostages.
The mothership and all its equipment was destroyed by the Esbern Snare, but the pirates were taken ashore and released as there was not enough evidence, despite all the equipment found, for a conviction in a Danish court.
On Wednesday the 9th Esbern Snare released six Somali pirates who had been held since December 30, after being suspected of attacking the Danish ship Elly Maersk. They were release along the Somali coast due to a lack of evidence against them. It appears the pirates threw their weapons overboard when the crew of the Esbern Snare boarder their vessel.
Meanwhile, the South Korean fishing vessel Keummi 305 was released by pirates last week after four months of captivity. The 241 ton trawler and its 43 crew were captured in October last year but released without a ransom, as the pirates did not want to keep feeding he hostages when the owner was bankrupt and unlikely to pay a ransom.