Somalia: Pirates seize fishing ship off the coast of Puntland
GAROWE, Puntland- Suspected local pirates were reported to hijack a fishing ship off the coast of Somalia’s northeastern region of Puntland on Thursday, raising an alarm of raise of piracy in the horn of Africa once again, Garowe Online reports.
According to sources, the ship Asayr 2-owned by local businessman Said Osman Said from Puntland region, hijacked near Mareya coastal village. The pirates seized control of the ship and released the whole crew before sailing towards the Indian Ocean.
However, it is not clear the reasons behind the hijack but experts say the pirates might use the fishing ship as decoy to intercept larger vessels passing off the coast of Somalia.
The incident comes following recent hijack of Oil Tanker Aris-13 near Alula district in Puntland, but released after swift intervention by the region’s maritime forces and elders who negotiated with the pirates to peacefully release the vessel and crew.
So far Puntland government didn’t apprehend the pirates, a clear indication of lack of strong policy to deter increase of piracy in Puntland.
There was sharp decline in piracy since 2012, but illegal fishing in Puntland waters caused growing local resentment at the poaching of fish stocks by foreign trawlers.
Former region’s Director of Anti-Piracy agency in Puntland has warned previously about dubious licenses issued by officials in Puntland that affected the livelihood of local communities.