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Wed 31 Mar 2010 08:28 AM

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UAE dhow owners halt Somali trade over pirate attacks

Eight UAE dhows carrying 97 Indian nationals have been hijacked since Friday.

UAE dhow owners halt Somali trade over pirate attacks
PIRATE THREAT: Eight UAE dhows, carrying 97 crew members, have been hijacked since Friday. (Getty Images)

UAE dhow owners have halted trade with the Somalian ports of Mogadishu and Kismayo because of an increase in pirate attacks.

Eight dhows have been hijacked by armed pirates since Friday and 97 Indian nationals are currently being held, officials told the National.

Following an emergency meeting in Dubai, owners have decided to temporarily discontinue trading with Somali businesses in the hope they will be able to put pressure on the pirates.

“We are very worried; it’s much worse than it’s ever been before,” Jagdip Ayachi, owner of the dhow MSV Sea Queen, which was hijacked on Saturday, told the paper.

“We’ve decided not to load any vessels to Mogadishu or the southern ports until the release of these vessels and an arrangement is made over security.”

On Tuesday, the Indian Shipping Authority banned merchant sailing ships from trading in an area of Somalian and Yemini waters because of the pirate threat.

An official told the paper the Indian navy might also get involved in the situation due to the alarming rate of pirate attacks on Indian-registered dhows operating from the UAE.

Naval patrols around Somalia have pushed the pirates further into the Indian Ocean.

Experts told the paper the increase in attacks could be because of the upcoming monsoon season when the Gulf of Aden and western Arabian Sea are rough for much of June, July and August.

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