A Panama-flagged vessel has been hijacked by Somali pirates on Thursday, 20th Aug 2020 off the coast of Somalia. This is the first successful hijack since 2017, as reported by a regional senior official.
As recounted by Musse Salah, six pirates took over the vessel that was on the way to Mogadishu from the UAE when it seemed to have mechanical issues. The hijacking took place around midnight. Musse Salah is the governor of the Gardafu region in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland.
The identity of the vessel is yet to be confirmed and so are the nationalities and crew count. Despite this, negotiations to free the captured crew are underway currently.
The Somalian waters have been known to be treacherous owing to widespread piracy. The last known attack occurred in 2011 when the pirates launched 237 attacks, reported the International Maritime Bureau.
Over the years, developments in security protocols and the deploying of an international task force, private security etc. significantly brought down numbers, making this attack the first one in years.
This makes it the second vessel to be seized having left the UAE, the first one being detained by Iran, on Monday. The hijacking by the pirates has coincidentally occurred right after a gun and bomb attack at the popular seaside hotel at Mogadishu.
Called by Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab, the Mogadishu hotel attack killed 15 and wounded more than 24 people.