Suspected Hijacked Tanker Safe?

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  • Panama-flagged ship boarded by Somali police is safe and underway.
  • The EU force said there had been certain incidents on board the vessel and investigation was triggered.
  • Earlier it was suspected to be hijacked by Somali pirates.
  • Somali pirates launched 237 attacks off the coast of the country in 2011 and held hundreds hostage.
  • Better security protocols by the shipping firms, and a coalition of international naval forces stepped up patrols, as the number of attacks plummeted. 
  • The last successful hijacking in Somali waters was in 2017.

According to the EU Naval Force Panama-flagged ship boarded by Somali police is safe and underway, reports Reuters.

Ship safe and underway

Panama-flagged ship Aegean II boarded by Somali police is safe and underway, said the EU Naval Force. This conflicts the reports two days earlier about whether it had been hijacked by Somali pirates.

Why was the course altered?

The Aegean II originally altered its course due to a damaged hull and after local police had boarded it. 

The EU force said, “there had been certain incidents on board the vessel.”

Investigation triggered

The statement said, “At this point, it cannot be classified as a maritime security incident, but a more detailed investigation is in progress.” 

The ship’s progress was being closely monitored by the ESPS Santa Maria, a Spanish warship operating as part of the naval force.

Who boarded the vessel?

Not a hijack!

A Somalian regional governor initially said that the ship had been hijacked as it carried  cargo from the United Arab Emirates to Mogadishu port. 

But the EU statement said that the port authorities clarified to the EU force that local police had boarded the ship as she was drifting after it had been damaged.

Crew robbed and security team disarmed 

Piracy expert Jay Bahadur noted that Somali security forces, often made up of local militias, had previously hijacked vessels. He said he had received reports that the Somalis who boarded the vessel had robbed the crew and disarmed a private security team. Local authorities were not immediately available for comment.

For more information read our article Chemical Tanker Allegedly Hijacked But Situation Unclear

Better security protocols 

Somali pirates in 2011 launched 237 attacks off the coast of the country, the International Maritime Bureau says, and held hundreds hostage.

With better security protocols implemented by the shipping firms, and a coalition of international naval forces stepped up patrols, the number of attacks plummeted. The last successful hijacking in Somali waters was in 2017.

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Source: Reuters

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