Communication cut with hijacked Egyptian vessel

Communication with the MV Suez has been completely cut off, said an official source from the Red Sea Navigation Company, owner of the vessel that was hijacked on Monday off the Somali coast. The ship had 11 Egyptian crew members on board.

The last successful incidence of communication between the ship’s captain and the Red Sea company took place at 7 AM–three hours following the hijack, which occurred at 4 AM.

The same source said that cutting off communication–for periods that can extend to 72 hours–is a method commonly used by pirates during negotiations to push for their demands. Another of the company‚Äôs vessels was hijacked two years ago and its crew were later released for a ransom of US$1.5 million, the source added.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Al-Masry Al-Youm the hijackers will likely move the vessel to a new location and then resume negotiations. According to the source, this step alone may take an entire month.

The vessel was in international waters, far away from Somali shores, when it was hijacked. This part of the sea is considered relatively safe, with several warships passing through it.

The Red Sea Navigation Company owns a fleet of eight cargo ships, of which the MV Suez was the newest. The vessel transports cement, iron, equipment, agricultural crops and fertilizers to Red Sea ports, in addition to Gulf ports, and ports in eastern Africa and on the western coast of India.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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