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Piracy Issues Off Somalia Can Be Handled Vigilantly

On patrol: a security exercise at sea.
On patrol: a security exercise at sea.

Shipping vessels should remain vigilant as they transit waters off Somalia and the Gulf of Aden as piracy remains a threat despite attacks having declined since 2017, a global anti-piracy body said.

The International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB), in a new report released on Thursday, said a vessel was hijacked off the coast of Somalia on Dec. 14, 2023. It said a handymax bulk carrier was boarded and hijacked by Somali pirates about 700 nautical miles east of Bosaso, a town in northeastern Somalia. IMB Director Michael Howlett said the incident demonstrates the continued capabilities of Somali pirates. “This is a cause for concern and the IMB is once again calling for all masters and vessel owners to continue following the recommendations and reporting procedures as per the latest version of the Best Management Practices,” Howlett said.

The IMB urged vessels to continue implementing the industry’s best management practices and encouraged the continued stabilizing presence of navies in the region. According to the IMB, Somali pirates tend to be well-armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, and sometimes use skiffs launched from mother vessels, which may be hijacked fishing vessels or dhows.

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