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Piracy rears its head once more with another attack in the Gulf of Aden

Monday May 13, 2024

Half a dozen pirates have been apprehended by Operation Atalanta naval forces after an attempted attack on a merchant vessel in the Gulf of Aden, as Somali pirates continue to attack vessels in the region.

The European Union Naval Force’s (EU NavFor’s) Operation Atalanta said that on 10 May, the Marshall Islands-flagged product tanker Chrystal Arctic was attack by a skiff with suspected pirates on board while travelling 100 nautical miles north of Bosaso, Somalia. There was an exchange of fire between the ship’s security team and the suspected pirates.

After the attack was repelled, an Atalanta warship in the vicinity responded to the incident and apprehended six suspected pirates, who were treated for various injuries (presumably gunshot wounds).

After gathering evidence, the EU NavFor determined the incident was indeed a piracy attack, and one of the Atalanta vessels departed with the suspected Somali pirates for the Seychelles, “for further actions and the resolution of the process.”

The Seychelles is one of the nations in Atalanta’s area of operations with which Operation Atalanta has a legal agreement that allows for the trial of suspected pirates arrested by warships joining the operation, the EU NavFor explained.

According to the EU NavFor, there could be two or more pirate action groups (PAGs) operating off the wider Somalia coastline, which includes the semi-autonomous Puntland region. Two merchant vessels have already been highjacked since December, of which one was rescued by the Indian Navy, and the other reportedly released with its crew after a ransom was paid. Several smaller fishing vessels have also been hijacked by Somali pirates.


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