Somali Pirates Hijack Fishing Boat as Attacks Surge in Indian Ocean

Somali pirates hijacked a fishing vessel 69 nautical miles off the coast, marking the 19th successful hijacking since November 2023. The attack prompted an urgent warning from the Maritime Security Centre, citing a significant rise in piracy attacks in the Indian Ocean.

author-image
Trim Correspondents
New Update
Somali Pirates Hijack Fishing Boat as Attacks Surge in Indian Ocean

Somali Pirates Hijack Fishing Boat as Attacks Surge in Indian Ocean

Somali pirates have hijacked a fishing vessel approximately 69 nautical miles east of the Somalia coast, marking the 19th successful hijacking since November 2023 amid a significant rise in piracy attacks in the Indian Ocean. The Maritime Security Centre - Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) issued an urgent warning to shipping after the attack, which occurred on May 13, 2024, about 120 nautical miles southeast of Eyl, Somalia.

Why this matters: The resurgence of piracy in the Indian Ocean poses a significant threat to global maritime trade and commerce, with potential disruptions to oil and cargo shipments. As pirate operations expand their range and adapt their tactics, the international community must respond with strengthened counter-piracy efforts to ensure the safety of vessels and crew.

According to the MSCHOA report, a skiff manned with six to seven pirates carrying Kalashnikov rifles attacked the vessel before seizing it. The ship's AIS tracker is currently inactive. Security consultants Neptune P2P Group noted that "the frequency and scale of piracy attacks has significantly risen over the past year" and warned that these incidents will likely continue to increase in frequency and scale as pirate operations become more profitable.

EUNAVFOR Atalanta estimates that at least two or more Pirate Action Groups (PAGs) could be sailing off the Somali coast, with operations expanding up to 1000 nautical miles offshore. Last week, they warned that two or more PAGs are active in the area of Socotra Island and 500 nautical miles east of Socotra.

The recent hijacking follows a series of piracy incidents in the region. Last Friday, a product tanker reported a suspicious approach, and security guards exchanged gunfire with pirates. The Spanish frigate Canarias responded, arresting the six pirates and providing medical treatment. Neptune P2P confirmed 19 successful hijackings since November 2023, while Atalanta records a total of 31 incidents as of the end of April, prior to Friday's approach and the latest hijacking.

Somali piracy peaked in 2011 with 237 attacks and 28 successful hijackings before declining due to increased naval patrols and improved ship security measures. However, the recent surge in attacks indicates that pirates are adapting their tactics and expanding their range of operations. The international community is closely monitoring the situation and working to strengthen counter-piracy efforts in the region.

The latest hijacking of a fishing vessel 69 nautical miles off the Somali coast underscores the growing threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean. With 19 successful hijackings since November and pirate groups operating up to 1000 nautical miles offshore, the international community faces a significant challenge in securing vital shipping lanes and protecting maritime commerce in the region.

Key Takeaways

  • Somali pirates hijack fishing vessel 69 nautical miles off coast.
  • 19th successful hijacking since November 2023, marking a significant rise in piracy attacks.
  • Pirate operations expand range, adapting tactics, and becoming more profitable.
  • International community must strengthen counter-piracy efforts to ensure vessel and crew safety.
  • Piracy poses a significant threat to global maritime trade and commerce.