Somali pirates leave dhow, 14 Indian crew-EU force
Somali pirates abandoned a dhow and its 14 member Indian crew on Thursday after using the ship to attack an oil tanker earlier this week, a European Union anti-piracy force said, Reuters reported.
Sea gangs have seized a string of vessels over the last week in a flurry of activity ending a monsoon season lull. Pirates run amok in the shipping lanes linking Asia to Europe and have received millions of dollars in ransoms.
"At 3:30 this morning (0030 GMT) the pirates who were holding the Indian dhow ... abandoned the ship ... and sped off to the Somali coast," the European naval force Atalanta said.
"It has been confirmed that all 14 crew are safe and well," it said in a statement. It added that the ship was left 15 nautical miles off the northeast Somali coast in an area naval forces call the piracy "hot zone".
Pirates seized the "Nefya" on Saturday and then used it to launch a failed attack two days later on the 265,000-tonne, Liberian-flagged oil tanker "A Elephant".
It was not known if the crewmembers were forced to take part in the attack. Pirates sometimes press gang captured crews.
Maritime groups say buccaneers had been keeping a low profile in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean for more than a month due to monsoon rains.