Pirates have hijacked an Indian commercial vessel off the coast of Somalia and are holding its 11 sailors for ransom, according to a private marine security investigator. Dryad Maritime reported that the boat had been intercepted en route to Bosaso, Somalia, from Dubai.
The pirates were reportedly steering the ship towards the port town in Eyl, in the Puntland region.
Lieutenant Ian McConnaughey, spokesman for the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, which is stationed in Bahrain and oversees many regional anti-piracy missions, said they were "aware of the reports and monitoring the situation."
Last month, hijackers who attempted a similar maneuver were forced to release the commandeered vessel after losing a fight with Puntland's marine forces.
The incident in March was the first of its kind since 2012, when international efforts at patrolling the seas off Somalia led to a decrease in threats to the shipping industry. Locals have however become increasingly irate at the amount of foreigners being granted license to fish in Somali waters, leading to fears that the region may see a new uptick in piracy.
es/msh (AP, Reuters)