Somali pirates release hijacked ship

pirates robbers

A bulk carrier that was reportedly hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden on Saturday is now safe and underway to its next port of call. 

The UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) center said on Sunday that pirates had left the Motor Vessel (MV) after the crew killed the engines and locked themselves in the ship’s citadel. 

Somali pirates hijacked the bulk on Saturday in the latest in a string of attacks after years of calm.

A security source working at the Puntland Marine Police Force said the vessel was Tuvalu-flagged and is known as OS35.

UKMTO, which coordinates shipping in the Gulf of Aden area, said on its website that it received a notification earlier on Saturday from the vessel in an area in the Gulf of Aden that was under attack and may have been boarded.

The hijacking came days after pirates hijacked an Indian dhow that was on route to Bossaso from Dubai.

Somali pirates hijacked an oil tanker in March, the first such seizure of a vessel since 2012, but released it after a clash with the marine force in Puntland.

Shipowners have become less wary of piracy after a long period of calm off the Horn of Africa, experts say, and some have started using a route known as the Socotra Gap, between Somalia and Socotra Island, to save time and costs. The route is considered riskier than others.

At its peak in 2011, pirates launched 237 attacks off the coast of Somalia, according to the International Maritime Bureau, and took hundreds of hostages.

Their actions cost the world economy $7 billion and earned the pirates some $160 million in ransoms. 

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