Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

#TECH 24

Station F: Putting Paris on the global tech map

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Davos 2017: 'I believe in the power of entrepreneurs to change the world'

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

French education with a difference: Teachers who think outside the box

Read more

#THE 51%

Equality in the boardroom: French law requires large firms to have 40% women on boards

Read more

FASHION

Men's fashion: Winter 2017/2018 collections shake up gender barriers

Read more

ENCORE!

Turkish writer Aslı Erdoğan speaks out about her time behind bars

Read more

REVISITED

Video: Threat of economic crisis still looms in Zimbabwe

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

DAVOS 2017: Has the bubble burst?

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

DAVOS 2017: Summit overshadowed by geopolitical changes

Read more

Africa

Suspected Somali pirates take fishing vessel and 16 hostages

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-03-09

A Kenyan-flagged fishing boat, was hijacked by suspected Somali pirates Tuesday, along with its 16-member crew. The European Union's Atalanta anti-piracy naval mission voiced fears that the vessel could be used as a "mother ship" for future attacks.

AFP - Suspected Somali pirates have hijacked a Kenyan-flagged fishing boat with 16 crew which may be used as a "mother ship" to launch more attacks in the Indian Ocean, maritime sources said Tuesday.

Andrew Mwangura, the head of the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme said that the MV Sakoba had a Spanish captain and 15 other crew members from Kenya, Poland, Senegal, Cape Verde and Namibia.

"The vessel was taken hostage in waters off the Kenyan and Seychellois coasts last week", he said.

The European Union's Atalanta anti-piracy naval mission confirmed in a statement that the ship was in the hands of pirates Tuesday and heading towards the Somali pirate lair of Harardhere.

"The Kenyan flagged fishing vessel Sakoba is reported hijacked 400 nautical miles east of Dar es Salam," the statement said.

Atalanta spokesman John Harbour told AFP that the ship's ownership was unclear and voiced fears that the hijacked vessel might be used by the pirates as a floating base from which to launch their skiffs on more victims.

"We don't know who owns the ship. We know that in 2007 it was Spanish owned," Harbour said. "In fact, that ship might have been used by pirates as a mother ship."

Spain's fisheries federation Cepesca said in a statement that the ship's operator was Kenyan while the foreign ministry stressed that "the only connection with Spain is that the captain is Spanish."

Mwangura said the case was suspect since no attempt has apparently been made by the pirates to contact the owners or operators and start negotiations for a ransom payment.

"Communication with the ship has not been established", he said. "It is very strange because in all other pirate attacks, the hijackers make contact with the ship's owners for the sole purpose of negotiating for a ransom."

The UK Maritime Trade Organisation urged seafarers to avoid sailing too close to the Somali coast.

"The fishing vessel is used as a pirate platform and still poses a threat to mariners," it said.

Ecoterra International, a environmental NGO monitoring maritime activity in the region, said the MV Sakoba had a murky track record.

In 2005, the MV Sakoba, then comprising a crew from Kenya and Spain and registered in Ghana, was involved in an incident during which the Kenyan crew members were injured.

Somali pirates, who raked in at least 60 million dollars in ransom money last year, currently hold at least seven ships and close to 150 seamen hostage.

Over the past year, Atalanta and several other multinational naval missions have curbed piracy in the Gulf of Aden -- one of the world's busiest maritime trade routes -- but sea bandits have since ventured further south into less heavily-patrolled areas of the Indian Ocean.
 

Date created : 2010-03-09

  • PIRACY

    British-flagged ship hijacked off Somalia

    Read more

COMMENT(S)