Hijacked MV Ruen Now Positioned Near Somalia With 18 Crew Members

The European Union’s marine security group reported on Tuesday that a merchant vessel flying the Maltese flag, which was taken over by a group of people in the Arabian Sea last week, is currently off the coast of Somalia. For medical attention, a crew member has been evacuated.

A day after it was hijacked last Thursday, an Indian maritime patrol plane discovered the Ruen and radioed the crew, who had taken refuge in a safe room. Following their break-in, the hijackers “extracted the crew” from the secure room, according to the EU Naval Force.

The EU Naval Force stated that the hijackers, whose identities and demands are unknown, are still in control of the bulk carrier Ruen. The member of the crew who was removed from the ship on Monday and transferred to an Indian naval vessel that has been observing the Ruen was not mentioned in detail.

MV Ruen
Image Credits: Indian Navy/Twitter

The British Maritime Trade Operations and the private intelligence organization Ambrey said that the Ruen, which is run by the Bulgarian shipping firm Navibulgar, was boarded when it was off the Yemeni island of Socotra, which is close to the Horn of Africa. Angolan, Myanmar, and Bulgarian nationals made up the ship’s crew, according to Bulgarian police.

According to the EU Naval Force, the 185-meter Ruen was transporting metals from the port of Gwangyang based in South Korea. It had been sailing toward the port of Gemlik in Turkey. By transmitting a mayday notice to the command centre of the EU Naval Force, the captain verified the hijacking. The EU force reports that the ship is currently heading southwest towards the coast of Somalia.

Somali pirates have come under suspicion as a result of a noticeable decline in their attacks in recent years. They might resume being more active. The Pentagon has stated that, contrary to initial suspicions, the five armed attackers who took control of a commercial ship close to Yemen late last month were probably Somali nationals rather than the Houthi rebels supported by Iran.

Amid the Israel-Hamas war, the Houthi rebels, who are based in Yemen, have increased their attacks on vessels transiting the Red Sea, affecting international trade. The US announced on Tuesday that it and several other countries are assembling a force to defend ships navigating the Red Sea against attacks by areas of Yemen under Houthi control.

However, in response to the Pentagon’s evaluation of the attempted hijacking last month, Somalia’s maritime police have increased their patrols in recent weeks as concerns about a potential revival of Somali national piracy have grown.

In the vicinity of the hijacked Ruen, a Japanese naval vessel and a Spanish frigate from the EU Naval Force have joined the Indian military vessel. Both ships are part of the multinational Combined Maritime Forces command. The EU military is using a 5-meter drone and ships to “continuously monitor” it.

Reference: The Week

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