Latest hijacked vessel is small fishing trawler

Police say Somali pirates have seized a fishing trawler owned by a local businessman and forced the mostly foreign crew to disembark.

“We understand that pirates hijacked the fishing vessel to hijack a big ship off the ocean,” said Abdirahman Mohamud, head of maritime police forces in the semi-autonomous Puntland region.

“They dropped its 10 Yemeni crew and a Somali guard inland and disappeared with the boat together with the food, cook, captain and engineer,” he told Reuters.

Residents of the northern Somali city of Eyl confirmed to Reuters that pirates from their village had gone to seek potential targets.

It is likely that the trawler will be used as a mother ship to launch smaller skiffs in international waters and could target merchant vessels transiting the Indian Ocean High Risk Area.

This is the second hijacking of a vessel off the coast of the semi-autonomous Puntland region this month following the Aris 13.

It is advised that vessels transiting this area adhere to BMP 4 measures and maintain 24 hour watches.

Intelligence Comment:

This is a very dangerous situation. The vessel is more than likely to be one of a dhow variety which means that the pirates can operate at a greater range.

All vessels transiting in the Indian Ocean HRA region will need to increase vigilance and monitor all reports from the UKMTO/MSCHOA as to the description of this vessel.

Another known pirate tactic is “leap frogging” where the Pirate Attack Group (PAG) will attack another Dhow once in the open seas and use this as a mother ship.