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Indian tanker hijacked, 'heads to Somalia'.

MUSCAT: Tanker managed by an Indian shipping company was reported to have been hijacked by Somali pirates, from near the port of Salalah, at around 8:30 am (local time) yesterday.

According to a Salalah port official, the tanker sailed to Somalia yesterday morning with "all 21 Indian sailors on board safe".

"The Fairchem Bogey sailed from Oman coastal waters in the direction of Somalia. No reports of injuries or deaths," Peter Ford, the CEO of Port of Salalah, said, while adding that the port authorities were investigating the hijacking in cooperation with the government authorities.

The Indian Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) has also confirmed the hijacking of the tanker.

MV Fairchem Bogey, a chemical-oil tanker, is managed by Mumbai-based Anglo-Eastern Ship Management. Though the Marshall Island-flagged vessel usually carries oil or chemicals, the DGS did not offer any detail about the cargo.

The Directorate had informed the Indian Navy, the British Maritime Organisation, and other concerned agencies, the statement said without mentioning who the hijackers were.

The attack

The port's operator, APM Terminals, however, said pirates had earlier boarded the vessel while anchored. "The tanker was hijacked by pirates who came in a ship loaded with cattle," sources in Port of Salalah and shipping industry told Times of Oman.

"The ship was coming from Saudi Arabia port and heading to China," sources added.

The attack, and subsequent hijack, was reported through UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO).

"The pirated vessel has since been reported to be transiting southwest of the hijack position, likely making its way to Somalia. However, it is possible that the vessel may be used as a mother ship to launch attacks on unsuspecting merchant ships, despite the unfavourable weather conditions prevailing during the Southwest monsoon," Oceanus, an international maritime operation, said in a statement issued to Times of Oman.

Oceanus leads the daunting task of establishing a maritime military communications capability to support the European Union's very first Naval Operation to contribute to the deterrence of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast, and importantly, protection of the World Food Programme to Somalia.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Aug 21, 2011
Words:383
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