New Delhi: Pirates who seized an Indian cargo dhow with 11 crew members in waters off the Somali coast have taken the vessel to El Hur, near the port of Hobyo in Somalia's semi-autonomous Galmudug state, a pirate leader told Reuters on Tuesday.
The Ministry of External Affairs said yesterday that it could not confirm the hijacking.
Aw Kombe also said the pirates were in touch with businessmen in Kismayu over releasing the vessel, Al Kausar.
"The traders want the dhow be released without ransom but my friends say they may not release without at least some cash," he added. "They are still discussing."
The Al Kausar was commandeered in the vicinity of Socotra Island while en route from Dubai to Puntland's port of Bosasso, according to United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which coordinates shipping in the Gulf of Aden area.
Ship owners have become less wary of piracy after a long period of calm off the Horn of Africa, experts say, and some have started using a riskier route known as the Socotra Gap, between Somalia and Socotra Island, to save time and costs.
"The pirates who hijacked the dhow are from Puntland," said a government official in Galmudug state, who did not want to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the incident.