For the first time in two years, suspected pirates have attacked two fishing vessels in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia.
The latest incident underscores the continued threat to ships and crews in the Horn of Africa region.
The last time the Somali pirates attacked a ship was on March 13, 2017 when the tanker Aris 13, which had been carrying fuel from Djibouti to Mogadishu, was hijacked off the coast of Somalia. At the time, the hijack was the first reported hijacking of a large commercial vessel in the area in five years. After being captured, Aris 13 was taken to Alula and anchored there before its release without ransom was confirmed by security officials on March 16, 2017.
EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta, confirmed that the latest attack took place on Sunday April 21, 2019 when the fishing vessels FV Adria and FV Txori Argi came under attack by suspected pirates approximately 280 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.
The attacks were however thwarted and the crew and vessels were reported safe thanks to the application of Best Management Practices (BMP) protection measures by the Masters, the crews, and the private security teams embarked on both fishing vessels. EU NAVFOR said it is likely that the attacks were facilitated by a mothership, which was reportedly seized by armed men on 19 April off the central Somali Coast.
EU NAVFOR subsequently dispatched its Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircrafts to search the area. EU NAVFOR flagship ESPS Navarra also left the port in Mombasa in order to proceed into the area. ESPS NAVARA eventually successfully intercepted and boarded the dhow being used as a mothership.
Following the incident, EU NAVFOR reminded that the maritime industry must adhere to BMP measures in order to maximize the safety of the ship and their crews while transiting the high-risk area.