Ahmedabad: Somali pirates released two of the eight Indian boats hijacked in recent weeks, freeing 26 sailors, a shipping body told AFP on Sunday.
Reports in New Delhi said the ships were on their way to Dubai when they were hijacked after leaving a port in the rebel territory of Kismayo in Somalia.
“One vessel with 15 sailors on board was released by the pirates yesterday, while another one was freed early this morning along with 11 sailors,” said Kasam Ali, president of the Kutch Vahanvati Association in Gujarat.
He said the pirates had stripped one vessel of equipment, while the other had run out of fuel.
About 80 Indian sailors are still thought to be held on the remaining six ships near the Seychelles. India, whose merchant navy has frequently been targeted off the coast of Somalia, has a warship in the region.
Somali pirates, targeting one of the world’s busiest maritime trade routes, raked in an estimated 60 million dollars in ransoms last year.