Hijacked Bulker Potentially Used As Base for Somali Pirates

Pirates pointing guns at surrounding vessels
Updated Published

A Navibulgar bulk carrier, seized by Somalis in December, is now possibly being utilized as a base ship as pirate activities escalate off the Horn of Africa.

Ambrey, a UK-based maritime security consultancy, alerted that the Ruen, a 45,000 dwt vessel, was observed heading eastward, approximately 160 nautical miles southeast of Eyl, Somalia. The European Union's naval force also noted that the increase in piracy incidents far from the coast this week might involve the Ruen. This ship's 18 crew members have been in limbo for three months, awaiting news on ransom discussions.

On Tuesday, in the Indian Ocean, the Abdullah, a Bangladeshi bulk carrier, was hijacked by Somali pirates and anchored off the coast of Somalia yesterday with 23 crew members. The pirates boarded the ship around 600 nautical miles east of Mogadishu with relative ease.

Motivated by their recent success in capturing a vessel earlier in the week, Somali pirates have ventured out to sea once more in search of additional ships to hijack.

Ambrey reported receiving information about four suspected pirate skiffs setting sail from Hobyo, Nugal, and Mudug in Somalia, carrying 36 armed individuals.

Piracy off the coast of Somalia was a significant issue for a four-year stretch starting in 2008, after which it experienced a lull for about five years. However, the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) indicated earlier this month that a hijacked fishing dhow with 11 armed people aboard had left Somalia. In January, the Liberian-flagged capesize Lila Norfolk was boarded by armed individuals some 460 nautical miles off Somalia but was later rescued by the Indian Navy.