x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Pirates hijack eight Dubai ships

A UAE-owned merchant vessel and at least seven dhows trading with Somalian ports have been hijacked by pirates since Friday, officials say.

Dhow boats docked at the wharfs on the Dubai Creek, waiting to load and unload goods that are mainly shipped between Dubai and Iran, but also shipped to Somalia and Pakistan.
Dhow boats docked at the wharfs on the Dubai Creek, waiting to load and unload goods that are mainly shipped between Dubai and Iran, but also shipped to Somalia and Pakistan.

DUBAI // A UAE-owned merchant vessel and at least seven dhows trading with Somalian ports have been hijacked by pirates since Friday, officials say. MV Iceberg 1, operated by Dubai-based Azal Shipping & Cargo, was seized at gunpoint on Monday morning 10 nautical miles out of the port of Aden, Nato confirmed in a statement. The 4,500-tonne ship was carrying generators, transformers and empty fuel tanks, and has a crew of 24 Yemeni, Ghanaian, Sudanese, Pakistani and Filipino sailors, it said. Large ships have not been the only target. Dubai-based dhow owners said seven of their vessels were hijacked between Somalia and the UAE in just three days this week. "Something needs to be done," said Ghani Khanani, the owner of the Al Khaderi, a large wooden dhow with a 1,100-tonne cargo capacity that was hijacked on Sunday after leaving Kismayo, Somalia, for Sharjah. "Our crews don't have any guns and the dhows are low and easy to board; they can't do anything." Jagdip Ayachi, whose dhow Sea Queen was taken by pirates en route from Kismayo to Sharjah on Saturday, said attacks on wooden dhows are escalating: "There have always been problems but it used to be just one or two hijackings a month. This is much worse." Krishna Joyti, another UAE-owned dhow, was taken by pirates on Friday, Sea Queen and two other ships it was travelling in convoy with were taken the following day and Al Khaderi and two vessels in its convoy were hijacked on Sunday, the ship owners said. The Directorate General of Shipping in Mumbai confirmed that seven Indian vessels have been reported missing and are presumed to be hijacked by pirates. The authority said that 97 Indian seafarers are on these vessels. However, the exact dates of their hijacking are not confirmed yet. lmorris@thenational.ae * With additional reporting by Praveen Menon