This just in from Neptune Maritime Security…
Further to our earlier notice concerning this hijacking (please see below), MSCHOA has confirmed the hijacked vessel as being the MV Leila. The Panama-flagged Ro/Ro cargo vessel is owned and operated by New Port Cargo & Shipping of Dubai, United Arab Emirates and was built in 1973. In 2009, the vessel was subject to a legal action and its crew held in Somaliland for several months.
The MV Leila’s last known position was as of 1100Z, 16.47N-056.15E on a course of 260 at 4 knots. The vessel was not registered with MSCHOA, therefore her cargo and crew complement are unknown. Given the vessel’s size, age and probable value, we assess that this vessel is more likely to be used as a mothership rather than being held for ransom.
The following is the earlier report:
Following unsubstantiated reports of a successful hijacking on Thursday 16th February, official sources including NATO and UKMTO have now confirmed that a merchant vessel has indeed been hijacked by pirates.
There remains some conflicting information as to the exact date and location of the hijacking, however, with NATO Shipping Centre reporting the vessel taken on Friday 17th in position 18.10N-057.21E. UKMTO, meanwhile, reports that the vessel was hijacked on February 15th, approximately 25nm SE of Sadh (East of Salalah), Oman.
At the present time, the hijacked vessel’s name has not been confirmed. Sources have suggested that she is a German oil tanker.
The past week has seen a rise in the number of attempted hijackings and pirate attacks, as the monsoon season comes to an end and pirates expand their area of operations accordingly. News site, SomaliaReport, has stated that a fishing vessel was also hijacked in the last seven days and that large numbers of pirates are arriving in ports with the intention of beginning operations next week (February 20th is the traditional end of the ‘Wajillo’ winds in the region).
Neptune Maritime Security urges all vessels transiting the area are to exercise extreme caution.