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Ransom payment could trigger new wave of Somali pirate attacks

Seatrade Maritime
Monday May 6, 2024
By Marcus Hand

EU naval forces have warned in a surge of events by Somali pirates that have combined with the end of the monsoon season could result more attacks on shipping.


In an update on the piracy threat off the coast of Somalia EU NAVFOR ATALANTA said there had been a notable surge in events that could escalate the Somali piracy threat.

The pirates modus operandi involves hijacking dhows that are used as motherships to launch attacks as far out as 600 nm from the Somali coast. The dhows provide effective cover for the pirates blending into normal shipping traffic in the region.

“Although there have been no piracy-related incidents in the past seven days, the payment of ransom could create a new wave of Dhow hijackings which in their turn they will create future skiff attacks on M/V etc,” EU NAVFOR ATALANTA said.

In the case of the Bangladeshi bulker Abdullah that was released on 14 April after being held by Somali pirates for a month Reuters reported a $5 million ransom was paid.

Since the surge in piracy incidents since November last year 18 dhows have been hijacked and while some have been released six or seven are believed still be under control of pirate groups.

In the previous 30 days before the report was issued on 3 May there had been four suspicious approaches of vessels in the Gulf of Aden in the vicinity of the island off Socotra.

EU NAVFOR ATALANTA said it was estimated there were at least two pirate action groups could be sailing off the Somali coast in the area around Socotra and 500 nm east off the island in the Arabian Sea.

The European naval force said it continued to assess the threat as moderate where pirate attack was a realistic possibility. It is crucial that vessels operating in the Western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden, particularly those within 700 nm of the Somali coast adhere to the BMP5 recommendations,” the update said.


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