x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Pirates board ship bound for Singapore from Fujairah

Attackers board Iranian-owned bulk carrier MV Sinin 350 nautical miles east of Masirah Island, Oman.

DUBAI // A Singapore-bound vessel that sailed from Fujairah was hijacked by pirates on Saturday.

Attackers boarded the Iranian-owned bulk carrier MV Sinin 350 nautical miles east of Masirah Island, Oman, in the Arabian Sea. The ship then lost communication and changed course towards Somalia. The fate of its crew of 23 is not known. "That's the last information we have about it," said Lt Cmdr Jimmie Adamsson, a spokesman for EU Navfor, one of three joint naval forces that patrols the waters for pirates.

The MV Sinin is the seventh ship travelling to or from UAE ports to be captured in four months. It is Maltese-flagged with a deadweight of 52,000 tonnes. Thirteen of its crew members are Iranian and 10 are Indian.

The ship had not registered with either the Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa or UK Maritime Trade Operations.

Both organisations track the whereabouts of commercial vessels as they pass through risky waters and report them to navies patrolling the area.

The vessel had issued a distress signal, but a military aircraft arrived to find the pirates had already boarded the vessel. Naval forces tend to avoid intervention after pirates have boarded ships, for fear of harming hostages.

So far this year Somali pirates have hijacked 11 ships and taken 224 seafarers hostage, according to the International Maritime Board-Piracy Reporting Centre. In total they hold 33 ships and 712 seafarers.