April 7, 2010 / 6:11 PM / 9 years ago

Somali pirates release three Indian dhows: groups

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Somali pirates have abandoned three Indian boats seized off the coast of Somalia due to fuel shortages, maritime advocacy groups said on Wednesday.

One group also said pirates were attacking a Turkish bulk carrier on its way to Mombasa.

Over the last few years sea gangs have seized dozens of ships, including large oil tankers, in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. They are expected to try to capture more vessels due to good weather in the coming months despite patrols by foreign warships.

“There are about three of them that were abandoned. The crews are still there. The first two boats got assistance, but the other one we don’t know,” Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme told Reuters.

Another maritime advocacy group, Ecoterra, confirmed three Indian cargo dhows — MSV Krishna Jyot, MSV Al Kadri and MV Safina al-Bayatiri — had been released by pirates.

It said the pirates were holding six more cargo dhows.

Al Shabaab, an Islamist group fighting Somalia’s western-backed government, has condemned the attacks on ships serving Somali businessmen and asked pirates to desist from capturing them.

India said last week it was trying to trace the whereabouts of nearly 100 sailors on seven Indian vessels taken captive.

Somali pirates have made millions of dollars in ransoms by seizing ships off Somalia’s coast and have increased their range using motherships to launch attacks.

Mwangura said that as of 1515 GMT, the Turkish flagged bulk carrier — Yasin C — with 25 crew had come under attack some 250 nautical miles east of the port of Mombasa, where it was headed.

“Yasin C was on its way to Mombasa. The attack is ongoing and it is said it will not survive. It’s as good as taken,” Mwangura told Reuters by telephone.

He said they were yet to determine where it was coming from, or the cargo it was carrying.

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