A group of Somali pirates hijacked an Iranian fishing vessel on Tuesday which will most probably be used as a mothership in future attacks on larger ships, Reuters informed citing Ali Shire, the mayor of Somali town of Haabo.
As informed, the ship does not have a licence to fish in Puntland’s waters.
“EU NAVFOR is aware of the media reports and we are working with the Somali authorities and counter-piracy forces in the region to verify the attack, and if confirmed, the circumstances surrounding it,” EUNAVFOR Spokesperson told World Maritime News in a statement.
This year has seen an emergence of Somali pirate activities after five years of being dormant. It is believed that the return of illegal fishing vessels into Somali waters has spurred the resurgence of pirate attacks on commercial vessels transiting the region.
On March 13, Somali pirates hijacked a Comoros-flagged bunkering tanker Aris 13 while it was sailing near the Horn of Africa, marking the pirates’ first commercial vessel hijack since 2012.
The vessel and its crew were released on March 16 following negotiations between the Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF), local Somali authorities, clan elders in the Xabo region, and the pirates.
Two more hijackings ensued in the following months, ocean going dhow MV Casayr II, and a cargo vessel MV Al Kausar were hijacked but have both been released since. Several attempts to hijack bigger ships, including bulk carriers and chemical tankers were carried out, but attacks were predominantly foiled by naval forces present in the vicinity.
World Maritime News Staff