Somali pirates have released a small dhow which authorities feared could be used to launch attacks on large commercial ships further offshore.
A report Sunday from the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) center said the hijacked dhow was released approximately 70 nautical miles from Qalansyia on Socotra Island. The dhow was released by the pirates after taking a skiff, food and diesel from the vessel. The whereabouts of the pirates are unknown, the report said.
Pirates hijacked the dhow last Friday off the coast of Eyl, Somalia with the intent to use it as a ‘mothership’ to launch attacks on large commercial vessels – a tactic that was very common during the height of Somali piracy from 2008 to 2012.
Earlier this month, pirates hijacked a small oil tanker, the Aris 13, in the Gulf of Aden not far from the Somali coast, marking first time a commercial ship had been seized in the region since 2012. The vessel was released four days later.
From our understanding neither incident resulted in ransom being paid to the pirates.
Despite a drastic reduction in Somali-based piracy in recent years, international navies and maritime officials have warned that threat of piracy still exists in region and that commercial shipping must remain vigilant when transiting high-risk areas like the Gulf of Aden.