Three vessels and crew freed following Somali pirate hijackings

Recent pirate activity in in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin has seen Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA), which operates under the auspices of the European Union Naval Force (Eunavfor), state that it believes there are at least two pirate armed groups, potentially operating from motherships, now active in the Indian Ocean.

It is believed that the most likely scenario is that the pirates are operating from Mother Boats, searching for targets in areas where the sea conditions allow for boarding.

“These remote locations are also less likely to be patrolled by international forces. The pirates approach vessels to assess whether there is an armed security team on board,” Eunavfor said in a bulletin issued on January 30th.

Fishing vessel Adria (IMO 8919489), Korea-flagged was reported to have been the target of an attempted boarding on January 24th, followed by an attack on the bulk carrier Waimea (IMO 9513907) Liberia-flagged on January 27th, according to an update from Eunavfor’s Operation Atalanta.

One pirate action group was partially neutralized when the Seychelles Coast Guard freed the hijacked trawler Lorenzo Putha 04 on January 29th, with probably up to 12 pirates on an unknown mother boat.

The map also indicates several hijackings of fishing dhows in Somalia’s territorial waters, particularly in the Puntland region.

Pirate motherships active in Indian Ocean, warns Eunavfor

The Atalanta Piracy Sitrep is issued to keep the maritime industry informed about recent piracy events in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin. It includes information of the events and updates on the situation.

As it is reported, based on recent incident data, it is highly probable that at least two pirate armed groups (PAGs) possess both the intent and capability to seize opportunities for piracy attacks in the Indian Ocean.

Eunavfor said that the outcome of the Ruen case could be pivotal for the future of piracy, serving as a test to determine if piracy remains a profitable venture.

Should piracy prove lucrative in this instance, the conclusion of the monsoon season may herald a resurgence in pirate activities.

Currently, it’s uncertain whether these dhows will be used as mother boats to carry out piracy attacks against international shipping, or if the incidents will be limited to armed robbery.

“Considering the prevailing situation and the incomplete coverage of maritime situational awareness (MSA) in the Indian Ocean, the likelihood of other PAGs being deployed in search of opportunities remains significant.”

In response to the latest potential threat, vessels transiting through this area should consider adopting enhanced security measures (BMP5), and maintaining communication with MSCHOA and UKMTO to stay informed about potential threats and updates.