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Hijacked ship moved to new location off Somalia, UN wants action

Staff Writer |
Pirates who hijacked an Indian cargo dhow with 11 crew on board have moved the vessel to an undisclosed location off the Somali coast until their ransom demands are met, a pirate leader told Reuters.

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The vessel, Al Kausar, was initially taken to El Hur, near the port of Hobyo in Somalia's semi-autonomous Galmudug state but was then moved to avoid approaching security personnel, pirates said.

Pirate leader Aw Kombe said negotiations were under way with businessmen in the port city of Kismayu for the release of Al Kausar, which was seized on Saturday.

"The traders want the dhow released without ransom but my friends say they (will) not release it without at least some cash," he added. "They are still discussing."

Yury Fedotov, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), called on the international community to remain vigilant and work in partnership against a backdrop of increasing attacks by Somali pirates on commercial shipping.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here that "following a five-year lull, there has been a resurgence of attacks by Somali pirates on commercial shipping."

In the wake of three recent attacks, Fedotov called on the international community to be vigilant, work in close partnership, and hold the pirates accountable, the spokesman said.

"Large parts of the Somali coast remain beyond the reach of law enforcement authorities," he said.

"UNODC stressed that ships should continue to follow the advice of navies and the International Maritime Organization (IMO)," he said.

"UNODC continues to support both trials of piracy suspects in the region and the Somali maritime law enforcement agencies," Dujarric said.

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