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KARACHI: Represen­ta­tives of the ports and shipping and mercantile marine departments said on Wed­nes­day that there was no cargo vessel or fishing boat registered in their record by the name of Salama-1.

The statement comes days after reports of a Pakistani vessel getting hijacked by Somali pirates started doing the rounds in media.

The shipping master said, “We checked our records as soon as the news broke. But we didn’t find any vessel named Salama-1 re­­g­­istered with us. If this were the case, we would have been inundated by phone calls and visits by relatives of crew onboard the ship. No one has come forward with a complaint about a missing crew as yet”.

MMD principal officer Captain M. Aslam Shaheen said: “We didn’t find any data indicating the hijacked vessel belo­n­­gs to Pakistan.”

Two names, Salam and Salami, were found on the record which were obviously not the same as the one mentioned in news reports, he said.

Pakistan Fisherfolk For­­um president Mohammad Ali Shah said: “We were asked to check our reco­rds...but we didn’t find anything. None of the families of seafarers have approa­ched us as yet. It could be that the ship was privately owned but the fact that it was hijacked should not be taken lightly at all.”

Foreign ministry spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that “no authentic information from a credible source has reached us as yet”. The Somali Embassy will be approached about this matter, he added.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2017