Incident Alert – Vessel Hijacked Near Eyl – Somalia

INCIDENT ALERT – Vessel Hijacked Near Eyl – Somalia
Date: 23 Nov 2023 – 1445 UTC
Position: Lat 09°43’59″ N Long 50°25’00” E
Location: Indian Ocean, off the coast of Eyl, Somalia


Incident Details

The Maritime Information Cooperation and Awareness Center (MICA Center) reported that a fishing vessel had been hijacked near Eyl off the coast of Somalia by unknown assailants. Further information regarding this incident has now emerged that indicates the vessel involved was the Iranian Fishing Dhow Al MERAJ 1. It appears the AL MERAJ 1 was fishing illegally inside Somali territorial waters and was boarded by a local criminal gang who were said to be armed with AK 47 and RPG. Reports suggest the gang has demanded a ransom for the release of the Dhow.



Somali piracy has been suppressed in recent years due to a number of effective countermeasures, such as the use of armed guards on commercial vessels, but the underlying cause of the rise of piracy is still there. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is still a contentious issue in the rich waters off the Eastern coast of Somalia.


While Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing is recognised as the precursor that led to the emergence of Somali piracy, we do not think this incident signals a return to such activity. it appears frustration at the lack of government action to protect Somalia’s fishing grounds has led local people to take the law into their own hands. It is possible, however, that if a ransom is paid, other criminal gangs may see this as an opportunity. We do not assess there is an increased threat to commercial ships transiting the region but do advise ships to stay clear of the area and to remain vigilant.