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Armed Pirates Board Cargo Ship Off Somalia

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

March 12, 2024

© Venera / Adobe Stock

© Venera / Adobe Stock

Twenty armed people have boarded a cargo ship off the coast of Somalia and have taken control of it, a maritime security firm said on Tuesday.

The vessel is the latest to be targeted following a resurgence of attacks by Somali pirates in recent months although the maritime security firm, Ambrey, did not specify that it was Somali pirates who boarded the ship.

Ambrey said the ship was a Bangladesh-flagged bulk carrier - a type of merchant ship used to transport large amounts of cargo - that was heading from Mozambique to the United Arab Emirates.

The incident happened about 600 nautical miles east of Somalia's capital Mogadishu, it said.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency also flagged the boarding incident, putting the number of the armed people who had boarded the vessel at 22.

UKMTO did not specify that it was Somali pirates who boarded the ship but said the ship was heading in the direction of the Somali coast, citing a report from the company security officer. It also said the crew were unharmed.

Ambrey said there were conflicting reports about the whereabouts of the crew of the boarded ship.

Somali pirates caused chaos in important global waterways from about 2008 to 2018. They had been dormant until late last year when pirate activity started to pick up again.

Data from the Maritime Security Centre - Horn of Africa, the planning and coordination centre for the European Union's anti-piracy operation EUNAVFOR, show there have been more than 20 hijackings or attempted hijackings of vessels in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin since November.

Maritime sources say pirates may be encouraged by a relaxation of security or may be taking advantage of the chaos caused by attacks on shipping by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group while war rages in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

(Reuters - Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Johannesburg, and George Obulutsa and Giulia Paravicini in Nairobi; Additional reporting by Ahmed Elimam in Dubai and Hatem Maher in Cairo; Editing by Alexander Winning, Alexandra Hudson, Timothy Heritage and Alison Williams)

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