Shots fired off Somalia – Splash247

A merchant vessel has reported a suspicious approach by a blue-hulled small boat with several armed men some 170 kilometres northwest of Bosaso, Somalia

Maritime security consultancy Ambrey has stated that the vessel was approached from the starboard side of the unnamed vessel to within 100 metres.

The boat was carrying 5-6 armed people with a ladder also sighted on the boat. The merchant vessel altered course and sounded the horn.

A private armed security team onboard the vessel revealed its weapons to the approaching boat and discharged two warning shots due to the boat’s continuing approach. The boat then ceased its approach.

The merchant vessel had an estimated 7.35m freeboard at the time and continued its voyage westbound. No injuries were reported.

Splash reported yesterday on the sighting of a pirate mothership in the Indian Ocean, some 1,000 km from the Somalia mainland and 650 km east of Yemen’s Socotra Island. This sighting comes at a time when the Houthis are also extending their range of attacks to a similar area.

Captain Rahul Khanna, global head of marine risk consulting at Allianz Commercial, stated that shipping was vulnerable to extortion and pirates may be emboldened by what is going on in the Red Sea. He added that there was a possibility of a period of renewed hijackings and piracy attacks at sea.

This is further emphasised by Somali pirates releasing the hijacked Bangladeshi ship, Abdullah, and its 23-strong crew last month only after a $5m ransom was paid.

As a result of the heightened security concerns for merchant shipping, prices for private maritime security guards onboard have shot up this year, according to a recent analysis from sister title Splash Extra with many ex-soldiers looking to get in on the action.

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