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Somali Pirates Hijack Iranian-Flagged Fishing Vessel off the coast of Eyl

Marine Insight
Saturday November 25, 2023

Pirate activities have resumed off the coast of Somalia, several years after they were slowly starting to die down. Ships are advised not to go close to Somalian territorial waters due to the risk of being robbed by pirates or armed robbers.

One such incident happened recently when an Iranian-flagged fishing ship called Almeraj 1 was hijacked by armed Somali clan militia off the coast of Eyl, an ancient port town in Somalia.

They demanded $400,000 in ransom and threatened to use the vessel for more such hijackings if they were not given the money, per media reports. The hijackers said that the vessel was engaged in unregulated fishing. Hence, they confiscated it, per Maritime Security Consultant Ambrey.

Somalia has strict fishing rules, and no foreign ships can operate in its waters without the authorities’ approval. The Militia claimed to have asked for assistance from the authorities. However, they were not helped, so they gained control of the vessel, Ambrey reported on Friday.

The ship left Chabahar in Iran in October and conducted fishing operations within Somalian water for about a month.

The vessel is a Jelbut-type round-stern dhow with a white and blue superstructure, Somali-kind white-hulled skiffs, and single outboard engines.

Ships are being warned to stay away from the area. In the past, Somali Pirates had targeted smaller fishing vessels, too, when Piracy was widespread off Somalia but then was slowly said to die down.

The last hijacking, which involved a commercial vessel, was in 2017 when a bulk carrier OS35 became the fifth ship to be attacked within three weeks.

References: Splash, Crisis24

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