Dubai, Nov 5: An Indian-owned ship has been hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia demanding one million dollars to release the UAE-registered vessel and its 14-member crew.
The pirates stormed the Veesham 1, 95 kms north of capital Mogadishu as it sailed to Dubai from the Somali port of El-Maan, an official of the Seafarers' Assistance Programme in the neighbouring Kenyan port city of Mombassa said.
He said talks are on to release the ship and crew of four Indians, four Sri Lankans, two Pakistanis, two Ethiopians and one Eritrean.
None of them is believed to have been harmed, said Ajay Kumar Bhatia, the owner of the vessel, press reports said.
Bhatia said he is trying to contact the captain and the present transitional government in Somalia has already sent forces to save the ship.
The ship was carrying 500,000 dollars worth of coal, said Bhatia, Managing Director of Dubai-based Veesham Shipping Incorporation, owners of the vessel.
He said the pirates had asked for 500,000 dollars, half the figure quoted by the Mombassa organization.
The pirates are negotiating with the insurers and it is their responsibility to settle it, he said.