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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Indian Govt taking steps to protect vessels from pirates

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Jan 15, IRNA -- Against the backdrop of Somali pirates capturing 14 more Indians in yet another strike, the government said it is taking all possible steps to ensure secure maritime movements of vessels including help of the Navy for escort.

'The government is serious on the issue and is taking all possible measures for the safety of Indian vessels,' Shipping Secretary K Mohandas told pti.

He said Indian Naval vessels along with navies of other countries are patrolling the hijack prone maritime areas and providing escort to the vessels.

His comments came even as the fate of the 14 Indians captured off the Oman coast by Somali pirates along with their Gujarat-registered dhow (slow moving vessel) five days back remained unknown.

Mohandas said there was no trace of the vessel so far but efforts were being made to locate it.

In yet another strike in the high seas, Somali pirates captured the Indian vessel MSV Al-Musa on January 9 when it was on its way to Salalah in Oman from Dubai.

Last year, the Somali pirates carried out several strikes, capturing 11 dhows with over 120 Indians on board.
However, they later released majority of the vessels after payment of ransom.

Asked about the number of Indians under the captivity of pirates, Mohandas said as per information from various sources the number could be 50.

Repeated attacks on Indian vessels had prompted the government to issue warning to dhows about the dangers in those waters, particularly along the sea-lanes of Salalah and Male.

The merchandise conducted on seas is worth about USD 110 billion annually, with Indians being among the major players.



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