Pirates Hijack Iranian Fishing Vessel Off Somalia -AFP

File photo courtesy U.S. Navy
File photo courtesy U.S. Navy

Earlier this week pirates hijacked an Iranian fishing vessel in the waters off the coast of Somalia, the AFP has reported.

The AFP report, which cited an official with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said that that the Iranian vessel was illegally fishing in Somali waters off the coast of Ceel Huur in the Mudug region when it was hijacked on Friday.

If the vessel is confirmed as pirated, the incident will mark the first hijacking in the region since 2012.

“An Iranian vessel, fishing illegally in Somali waters, was hijacked earlier this week,” Alan Cole of the UNODC told the AFP.

Initial reports said the vessel was simply seized by local maritime police over its illegal activity, however a senior administration official in the Himan and Heeb region of Somali denied that their forces had any involvement, the AFP report said.

The last vessel reported hijacked by Somali pirates was the Liberian-flagged MT Smyrni on May 10, 2012 in the Indian Ocean approximately 250nm SE of Ras Al Madrakan, Oman.