By Claire Ferris-Lay
Four Somalian pirates attempted twice to hijack the boat using weapons, says owner
A Greek ship narrowly escaped being hijacked by Somali pirates in two attempted takeovers just off the coast of Oman, Arabian Business had learned.
Four armed pirates attacked the ship approximately 500 nautical miles of the North East of Salalah on Friday, Marine Management Services, owner of the boat, said in a statement.
“[The] officer on watch identified and targeted a suspicious vessel,” the company said. “While assessing the situation he noticed the skiff [a small boat] approaching the vessel’s port quarter under fire.”
Four armed pirates carrying firearms then attempted to board the ship using a portable ladder but the attack was unsuccessful.
A second failed attack then took place 30 minutes later, said the company. None of the crew were hurt during the incident.
Despite efforts to clamp down on hijack attempts Somali pirates are making millions of dollars in ransom money from seizing ships in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. In most cases the hijackings end when the ransom is paid, although the pirates are said to be increasingly well-coordinated.
Somalia hasn’t had an effective government in place for almost two decades and is one of the world’s most lawless countries, which has allowed pirates to thrive in the waters off its shore linking Europe to Asia and Africa.
The Gulf of Aden, a body of water between Somalia and Yemen, is the main sea route between Europe and Asia. Tankers carrying Middle East oil through the Suez Canal must pass first through the Gulf of Aden.
On Saturday, Somali pirates released another Greek-owned carrier, after it was seized on May 12, about 250 nautical miles off the Omani coast. It is still not known whether or not a ransom for the ship and its 23 crew members was paid or not.
Yes, Somalia has been without an effective government for decades with a result that illegal fishing in its territorial waters has cost the livelihoods of coastal communities. I am not sanctioning pirate operations, but it is something to think about if you are a barefoot Somali fisherman watching your catch winched up on boats from as far away as Spain and Korea.