Fifteen Indian crewmen may have been taken hostage in the hijacking of a merchant ship Al Mazan, which is apparently being held near the Somali town of Garacad. The Associated Press on Tuesday quoted a Somali businessman Abdirisaq Abdulkadir as saying that a Panamanian-flagged ship with 18 crew, including 15 Indians, carrying food, electronics and other small items from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Mogadishu, was hijacked.

He denied earlier reports that the ship was ferrying weapons.

Ransom demanded

The pirates were apparently demanding a $3 million dollar ransom to release the vessel.

However, Reuters on Monday reported that Somali pirates seized a UAE-flagged ship carrying weapons, bound for the Horn of Africa nation.

It quoted Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme as saying that the hijacked ship was using the fake name Al Mizan.

Last month, 24 Indians were taken hostage when m.v. Al Khaliq, a Panamanian-flagged ship, was hijacked near Seychelles.

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