Suspected Somali pirates on Tuesday hijacked an Italian cargo vessel with 18 crew including seven Indian seafarers, off the coast of Oman.

The Italy-flagged M T Enrico Ievoli with 15000 mt of caustic soda on board was hijacked at 0403 hours GMT (0933 IST) by the pirates, a statement issued late this evening by the Directorate General of Shipping said here.

The 138-metre long vessel, which was on a voyage from the port of B.I.K. (Iran) to Yumurtalik in Turkey, is manned by 7 Indians, 6 Italians and 5 Ukranians and is being now taken towards the Somali coast, the statement said.

With the hijacking of Enrico Ievoli, the total number of Indian sailors in captivity goes up to 43, the DGS said.

There are no reports with regard to any injury to the crew of Enrico Ievoli, the DGS said, adding demand for ransom, if any, was not immediately known.

According to an AFP report from Rome, the Naples-based owner of the ship, Marnavi, has also confirmed hijacking of the vessel. The report added that the Italian Navy has been alerted.

More In: National | News