News / Asia

Hijacked Indian Vessels Put Focus on Illicit Maritime Trade

Dhow operating in the Indian ocean (File)
Dhow operating in the Indian ocean (File)

India has banned mechanized sailing vessels, known as dhows, from sailing into some pirate-infested waters off the East African coast.  The dhows appear to be involved in illicit trading out of a port controlled by a terrorist organization. 

India's government is ordering small maritime traders not to sail south and west of Oman and the Maldives.  The order by the Directorate General of Shipping in Mumbai was issued after seven India-flagged vessels, with 97 sailors on board, were reported missing and presumed hijacked by pirates off the Seychelles and the East African coast.

The vessels, all under 400 tons each, are based out of several ports in India's Gujarat State.  Reports say the missing ships had been visiting the rebel-held port of Kismayo in Somalia.

India's Navy says it has repeatedly warned shipping authorities, with little effect, about the dangers of mechanized dhows venturing into the pirate-infested waters.

Navy spokesman Commander P.V.S. Satish tells VOA ship operators are reluctant to inform authorities their crews have been hijacked.

"I think it would probably be for fear of the fact that they would be prevented from going to these area and that would affect their livelihood.  Sometimes it has happened in the past that we come to know much later that such an incident has actually happened," said Satish.

The dhows are part of a centuries-old tradition of Gujaratis trading between the African east coast and the Arabian Peninsula.

A Germany-based environmental group, Ecoterra, accuses the Indians of exporting charcoal and other contraband from the port to Dubai.  It says the Indian fleet also may be involved in other criminal activity, such as human trafficking and delivering drugs and weapons.

Taking charcoal from Somalia to meet demand in the Gulf States is a lucrative, but illegal, trade blamed for deforestation in Somalia.

Africa researcher Roger Middleton, at the Chatham House research organization in London, tells VOA the India directive to ban its small merchant vessels from much of the Arabian Sea probably will have little effect in stemming the illicit Somali exports.

"Certainly if trade from India, or run by Indians, stops you would see no shortage of Somali businessmen and entrepreneurs who would probably be able to step into the gap.  So I do not think Somalia is about to become cut off," he said.

Kismayo harbor is held by the anti-government al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaida and is designated a terrorist organization by the United States and United Kingdom.  

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid