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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid