BOSASO, Somalia/NAIROBI, Kenya (Reuters) – Somali pirates have actually launched 3 Iranian captives held for five years, a maritime security authorities said on Thursday, as clashing reports emerged whether another ship had actually been seized after a three-year hiatus in hijackings.

Three Iranian anglers, who, according to a maritime security officials, were launched by Somali pirates after being held for five years, pose for an image at VIP hall in Imam Khomeini airport, in Tehran, Iran August 21,2020 WANA (West Asia News Company) via REUTERS

The three Iranians are the last of the team of the Iranian fishing vessel FV Siraj, which was caught by pirates on March 22, 2015.

” This marks completion of an age of Somali piracy and the discomfort and suffering of Somalia’s forgotten hostages,” stated John Steed, the coordinator of the Captive Assistance Programme, a volunteer organisation based in Nairobi begun to assist rescue crews deserted by their employers.

The release was meant to mark the end of an age for Somalia’s pirates, who held over 2,300 crew in between 2010 and 2019.

But rather, six armed men hijacked the Panama-flagged Aegean II late Wednesday after it had engine problems, a local governor in Somalia told Reuters.

Musse Salah, the governor of Gardafu in the semi-autonomous northern area of Puntland, stated the ship was taking a trip from the United Arab Emirates to Mogadishu port when pirates attacked it, in what would be the very first successful hijacking considering that 2017.

There were 20 crew onboard, stated a local in contact with the guys who had seized the ship.

A regional security official stated the men appeared to have links to a local militia that operated as a police unit in the Bari area. The main asked not to be called as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

POLICE, PIRATES, OR BOTH?

Jay Bahadur, a Somali piracy expert who was previously head of a United Nations group of experts enforcing an arms embargo on Somalia, said that being a pirate and a member of the Somali cops had actually not historically been mutually exclusive.

He said it appeared that a group of guys wearing authorities uniforms had boarded the ship, robbed the crew and taken the weapons of a private security team on board.

The man reported to be the ringleader of the attack on the Aegean II had actually duplicated phone contact with another pirate who was part of a group that performed Somalia’s last hijacking in 2017, he included. The contact occurred in the months prior to the 2017 hijacking.

” If it was indeed the cops, it bears resemblance to among the earliest Somali piracy events, when members of the Puntland coast guard hijacked the boat they were expected to be securing,” he stated.

Satellite tracking data showed the ship appeared to have rounded the Horn of Africa and was going south past the Somali port of Hafun prior to suddenly turning dramatically to the north and docking in Bereeda. Pictures sent to Reuters from Bereeda showed the Aegean II, a little tanker that carries chemical or crude products.

The European Union Naval Force, called EU Navfor, was checking on the occurrence, stated a source in their Somalia Joint Operation Centre.

At the height of their power in 2011, Somali pirates launched 237 attacks off the coast of the nation, the International Maritime Bureau states, and held hundreds hostage.

The variety of attacks later on toppled as shipping companies carried out much better security procedures, consisting of publishing look-outs, sailing further away from Somalia, and hiring private security. International warships running as part of a union likewise avoided numerous attacks.

Somalia has been riven by civil war because 1991 and is managed by a patchwork of regional militias, pockets of federal forces, African Union peacekeepers and Islamist insurgents. The Horn of Africa country has likewise been periodically afflicted by pirates.

Composing by Katharine Houreld; Modifying by Barbara Lewis, Hugh Lawson and Lisa Shumaker

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Marco Bitran
Husband and father of two children under age 5, Marco also enjoys walks in nature, squash, running road races, and photography. He regularly contributes significant time and resources to the Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the MSPCA and other animal rights organizations, and the Bitran Charitable Foundation. Marco has also volunteered and consulted for public housing support organizations such as the Somerville Homeless Coalition, created by the local community’s grassroots response to the social crisis of homelessness.