Iran-bound Brazilian sugar ship hijacked off India

By REUTERS
March 26, 2012 16:47

 
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DUBAI - An Iranian bulk carrier of Brazilian sugar was hijacked in the eastern Indian Ocean early on Monday with 23 crew on board, international shipping monitors said.

The Eglantine, which according to Reuters shipping data loaded in Rio de Janeiro in late February, was hijacked off India's southwest coast by suspected Somali pirates, NATO's counter-piracy mission said.

Armed pirate gangs are making millions of dollars in ransoms and are able to stay out at sea for long periods using captured merchant vessels as mother ships. The shipping security crisis costs world trade billions of dollars each year.

Attacks as far away from Somalia as Monday's hijacking are rare. Although NATO, EU and Iranian naval forces are trying to protect merchant shipping, the Indian Ocean is too big for them to effectively patrol all of it.

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