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Somalia piracy is back, says UK intel firm

Seatrade Global
Thursday, October 17, 2013

UK firm Dryad Maritime Intelligence has warned that the attack of two vessels in the space of four days indicates that maritime piracy has returned to East African waters.

Last Friday, 296,919dwt Hong Kong-flagged crude carrier MV Island Splendor came under attack 230nm off the Somali coast, when pirates in two skiffs opened fire on onboard private maritime security personnel.

According to Dryad, the attack, which represented the first on a large merchant vessel since April, was followed by a second, 270 nautical miles further East, four days later. Dryad has since concluded that the two attacks were undertaken by the same pirate gang or “Pirate Action Group” (PAG).

“Despite the pressure applied by coalition forces and the assessed depletion of pirate resources, there was a likelihood that we would see a break out of a PAG into the sea lanes and that the hijack and ransom of a single large merchant vessel would be all it would take to feed the infrastructure of the Somali pirate criminal enterprise,” said Ian Millen, intelligence director at Dryad. “Following Monday’s report, it would appear that the attack on two vessels in the space of four days confirms that the Somali pirate business model is not yet broken.”

Millen indicated that numerous reports of pirate activity in the Gulf of Aden during the Southwest Monsoon were “not considered these to be pirate related”.

“We do, however, continue to encourage all vessels and their embarked security teams to report their concerns, whilst encouraging them to understand normal patterns of behaviour to avoid tragic consequences for themselves or for the many innocent seafarers they encounter. The incident with Island Splendor last Friday is a classic example of where vigilance and a professional response paid dividends in preventing what could have been the first real pirate success of 2013.” 


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