Somali pirates who hjacked an Indian-managed and Panamanian-flagged ship near Seychelles have held at least 24 Indians hostage, said officials.
Noel Choong, head of the piracy reporting centre of maritime watchdog International Maritime Bureau (IMB), was quoted as saying by PTI that the 22,000-tonne bulk carrier, MV Al Khaliq, was seized by the pirates in waters off Somalia.
Also, another carrier, the 32,000-tonne Italian vessel Jolly Rosso, came under fire from pirates north of Seychelles, however their attempt to hijack the ship failed.
“There were 26 crew on board, 24 of whom are Indian and two Burmese,” a spokeswoman for NATO’s anti-piracy mission in London has been quoted by AFP as saying.
According to reports, at the time of hijacking of the Al Khaliq, NATO’s closest ship in the Somali basin was eight hours away from it.
The EU’s anti-piracy naval force has said in a statement that the incident took place 180 nautical miles west of Seychelles.