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Somali pirates hijack Panama-flagged ship

August 20, 2020

The ship was on its way from the United Arab Emirates to Mogadishu port when it was attacked. Although piracy has decreased in recent years, Somalia's waters are considered extremely dangerous.

Convoys of merchant ships near the coast of Somalia
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/ECPAD/S. Nelson

Somali pirates hijacked a Panama-flagged ship on Wednesday night, according to regional officials on Thursday. 

The ship was traveling from the United Arab Emirates to Mogadishu port when it appeared to develop mechanical problems, said Musse Salah, the governor of the Gardafu region in the semi-autonomous northern region of Puntland.

A total of six pirates then hijacked the vessel.

The number and nationality of the crew were unclear but discussions were underway to free them, said Salah.

It is the first successful hijacking attempt by pirates in the region since 2017. At the height of their power in 2011, Somali pirates launched 237 attacks off the coast of Somalia, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

Attacks sharply subsided due to better security protocols.

These include posting look-outs, sailing further away from Somalia and hiring private security.

International warships operating as part of a coalition also helped to drive down the number of attacks.

kmm/rt (Reuters,dpa)