Maldivian, Indian throw in shadow hijacked Iranian vessel

By Piracy

A hijacked Iranian-owned cargo ship was shadowed by Maldivian and Indian forces on Tuesday, when drifting in the Indian Ocean, but were holding off boarding the ship
The MV Eglantine was seized by pirates of Somalia late Monday off Hoarafushi island in
the Maldives, the first kidnapping in the waters of the archipelago.
“By the time our ship was at the area the hijacked ship had drifted out of our Exclusive Economic Zone,” a spokesman for the Maldivian National Defence Force, Abdul Raheem Latheef, said AFP by phone from the capital Male.
“But we are tracking this ship along with the Indian navy,” he stated, adding that an armed Maldivian ship was travelling close to the vessel, seized over 2,000 km (1,250 miles) from the pirate hotspot of Somalia.
The cargo carrier was loaded with Brazilian sugar destined for Iran and was going to the Bandar Imam Khomeini port in Iran, Dow Jones Newswires reported, reported NATO`s shipping center.
The Bolivian-flagged Iranian-owned ship has had a total of 23 crew members, but their nationalities were not immediately known. The Maldivian authorities said they were warned to the hijacking by the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, the emergency communications system for global shipping, which maintains an operation in the Maldives.
Sri Lanka has also catched an unspecified number of Somali pirates.
Two decades of lawlessness have carved up Somalia into mini-fiefdoms ruled by gunmen and militia, encouraging rampant piracy.
At least forty ships and more than four-hundred hostages were still being held in or just off Somalia at the end of last year, according to the Ecoterra International group which monitors piracy in the region.