Hashi and Chris Mgidu MOGADISHU (Xinhua) -- European
Union anti-piracy taskforce has reiterated the need for
continued vigilance for all ships transiting the piracy high
area at sea amid resurgence of Somali pirates who are holding an
EU Naval Force Somalia (EU NAVFOR))
also urged the foreign vessels to adhere to self-protection
measures laid down in the Best Management Practices 4 (BMP4) and
to report any suspicious sightings to the UK’s Maritime Trade
Operations (UKMTO) centre.
The call follows the pirating of an
Indian registered cargo dhow with 11 crew off Somalia coast on
The EU naval force said its Spanish
maritime patrol aircraft has over flown the dhow, which is being
held at anchor less than two miles from the coast near to Hobyo
“Despite several attempts to
communicate via VHF radio, EU Naval force has not been able
to speak to the crew. It is not clear if a ransom has been
demanded for the vessel’s release,” the naval force said in
a statement on Tuesday night.
The cargo vessel, the Al Kaushar was
en route from Dubai and Somalia’s Puntland port of Bosasso, but
on 30 nautical miles off Hobyo was approached by small fishing
boat with one man, who outwit crew that wants provisions and
food, but later boarded the vessel and threaten the crew with
According to regional maritime expert,
Andrew Mwangura, the armed pirate succeeded to take control and
to seize the merchant vessel, heading to the Somali coast.
“I have not established when the
pirates have demanded for a ransom but they are still
holding the dhow,” Mwangura told Xinhua by phone on
Somali pirates have in the past
received hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom from
hijacking vessels resulting in some hostages being injured or
killed in the process.
Sources said the vessel was carrying
sugar and wheat to the semi-autonomous region of Puntland when
Al Kausar was hijacked in the vicinity of Socotra (Island).
Somali pirates tend to be well armed
with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade (RPG) and
sometimes use skiffs launched from mother vessels, which may be
hijacked fishing vessels or dhows, to conduct attacks far from
the Somali coast.
The pirating of the Indian dhow comes
just three weeks after the fuel tanker, Aris 13, was held for
four days by armed pirates.
Whilst not yet confirmed, EU NAVFOR
said it’s also investigating reports of another potential piracy
incident with a dhow off the coast of Galmadug on Monday.
The naval said its warships and
maritime patrol aircraft are continuing their counter-piracy
patrols in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.
Ben Lawellin, Oceans Beyond Piracy’s
Project Manager for the Horn of Africa said the hijacked Indian
dhow is in the vicinity of the town of Ceel Huur which is south
of Hobyo but could not confirm if the pirates have demanded
“The latest information we have
indicates that the dhow is in the vicinity of the town of
Ceel Huur which is south of Hobyo. I have heard that a
ransom demand has been made, but cannot confirm at this time
if this is true or not,” Lawellin told Xinhua.
The African maritime industry, along
the Indian Ocean, had been greatly affected by piracy that often
raise the costs of shipping as insurance companies and private
ship security companies increased their premiums to mitigate the
The piracy incident had also affected
the shipping sector by rise of cost of insurance as shippers
took extra covers for war risk, kidnap and ransom in addition to
conventional underwriting of cargo and hull.
Since Somali piracy is largely a
hijack-for-ransom business, it relies heavily on onshore support
for infrastructure that provides food, water, fuel and the leafy
narcotic khat to the militiamen who guard the hijacked ships
throughout the ransom negotiation process.