Neptune Maritime Security has received reports that an Iranian fishing boat has been boarded by pirates and hijacked off the coast of Somalia.
The incident happened around 305nm off Hobyo, Somalia, at 1105 UTC on November 22nd as the boat and its 15 crew were en route towards Somalia. There have been several sightings of small skiffs containing men seen with weapons and ladders in recent weeks in the region.
Previous hijackings of Iranian fishing dhows have been blamed on Somali fishermen reacting to illegal fishing in their waters. However, the range of this attack makes this unlikely and analysts agree that the dhows present a much softer target to pirates than a well protected merchant ship with a complement of armed guards on board. While piracy has fallen in the last two years, the military have stated that the threat remains, as yesterday’s hijacking illustrates.
In August this year, the Jaber, one of two Iranian dhows being held by pirates was able to escape Somalia before rendezvousing with international naval forces. The second dhow, named as the Siraj, remains in pirate hands.