Source: Press TV
File photo shows an Iranian fishing boat
Al-Shabab militants are holding 14 crew members of an Iranian fishing boat they seized off the coast of Somalia, two Iranian officials say.
"Now, the 14 crew members of this vessel are in captivity and a number of al-Shabab group members are on board the fishing boat," Hassan Salehi, head of Iran's Fisheries Organization, told IRIB on Thursday.
He said the private vessel had stopped due to technical failure, adding that al-Shabab militants seized the crew after they reached ashore.
Somali coastguard in the port town of El Dheer in Somalia's Galgadud region was alerted about the boat's capture on Wednesday, Omar Abdisamad, a government official told WorldBulletin.net, an online magazine with sources in the Horn of Africa region.
"The information we have so far is that the boat was captured early Wednesday. It is an Iranian fishing boat carrying ten to 14 sailors," Abdisamad said, adding that militants captured the vessel by surrounding it with speedboats.
Meanwhile, head of Iran's Consortium of Industrial Fishing, Amanollah Hayat Davoudi, also issued a statement on Thursday, saying the boat could not benefit from the protection of Iran's fishery authority as it was sailing outside the country's territorial waters.
He said that vessels willing to fish outside Iran's territorial waters pay "royalties to the Somali or Djibouti governments to fish in the Gulf of Aden."
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