MV Al Aqiq, owned by Dubai-based Naseem Al Berrary Shipping Company was hijacked along with its 14-member Indian crew near Hobyo when it was heading for Kisamayu after unloading a part of cargo in Somalia’s restive capital of Mogadishu, sources in Dubai said.The impact of getting food aid into Somalia is noticed here:
The vessel, according to sources, was taken to an unknown destination and the pirates were demanding ransom. The 1000-ton vessel had departed from Dubai 20 days ago with general cargo.
Meanwhile, MV Mariam Queen, which was hijacked on May 2, in Kisamayu was released yesterday and is currently sailing towards Mogadishu, Andrew Mwangura, of the Kenyan branch of Seafarers’ Assistance Programme told Khaleej Times from Mombasa. Its crew is safe, he said.
The lives of thousands of Somalis who are desperate for food aid are being threatened by heavily armed pirates operating off Africa's east coast.
The United Nations World Programme has called for international action to tackle piracy saying the flow of relief supplies into the country is under severe threat as some ships are refusing to sail because of the fear of attack.
At a warehouse in Mombassa, Kenya thousands of tonnes of food are waiting to be transported to the the thousands of Somalia's displaced by conflict, famine and floods.
But the aid is being held up by the pirates as the seas around the Horn of Africa become too dangerous to risk the shipment. Five vessels and about 50 seamen are currently being held hostage off the coast.
Road transport, although costly and time consuming, has now become the most reliable way to deliver the much needed aid.
"We are highly dependant on sea transport and in a way that becomes difficult because eventually we will run into serious problems. And in all fairness, maybe not so much the WFP will run into serious problems but the people of Somalia will run into serious problems," Peter Goosens, Somalia director for the World Food Programme, told Al Jazeera.
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