Iran General NewsIran firm says trying to contact hijacked grain ship

Iran firm says trying to contact hijacked grain ship

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ImageReuters: An Iranian shipping firm said on Wednesday it was trying to contact a Hong Kong-flagged ship carrying grain to Iran that it had chartered and that had been hijacked by Somali pirates.

ImageTEHRAN, Nov 19 (Reuters) – An Iranian shipping firm said on Wednesday it was trying to contact a Hong Kong-flagged ship carrying grain to Iran that it had chartered and that had been hijacked by Somali pirates.

The Delight, with a crew of 25, was captured off the Yemen coast on Tuesday and was heading for Somalia, Hong Kong officials have said. A Saudi oil supertanker and a Greek bulk carrier have also been hijacked in recent days.

"Still we have no news. There was no success in getting in contact with this vessel. We couldn't get through," an official from the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) said.

"We are waiting for the pilot or ship's crew to contact us and tell us the situation," the official, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.

He said the Delight was carrying about 36,000 tonnes of wheat to Iran. Lloyd's List reported the ship was a 43,218 dwt vessel and was bound for the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.

Another IRISL bulk carrier, Iran Deyanat, was hijacked by pirates on Aug. 21 and released on Oct. 10.

Mohammad Mehdi Rasekh, member of the IRISL board, said IRISL would have to discuss any ransom payment with the Hong Kong owners of the vessel, Iran's ILNA news agency reported.

"Iran rented this ship and we should discuss with Hong Kong who should pay the ransom because we only rented it," he said.

The official who spoke to Reuters said no ransom had been requested as there had been no communication with the vessel.

Rasekh said seven of the crew were Iranians and the vessel had sailed from Germany.

IRISL, Iran's biggest shipping firm, said in October it had told its vessels to string barbed wire on their decks and put crew on the alert for pirates when passing through the area where hijackings have occurred. (Reporting by Edmund Blair and Parisa Hafezi, editing by Tim Pearce)

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