Somali forces, foreign navies prepare attack on hijacked ship, police say

By Thomson Reuters Mar 18, 2024 | 5:55 AM

By Abdiqani Hassan

GAROWE, Somalia (Reuters) – Somali police and international navies were preparing on Monday to attack a commercial ship that was hijacked by pirates last week, the Puntland region’s police force said, two days after Indian commandos rescued another cargo vessel held by pirates.

The MV Abdullah was hijacked off the coast of Somalia last week, the latest of more than 20 attacks since November by Somali pirates who had laid dormant for nearly a decade.

On Saturday, the Indian navy rescued another cargo vessel, the Maltese-flagged MV Ruen, which had been seized in December, freeing its 17 crew members and arresting 35 pirates.

The police force from the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, a base for many pirate gangs, said it was on high alert and prepared to participate in an operation against the pirates holding the Abdullah.

“Puntland police forces are ready after they got reports that international navies are planning an attack,” the police said in a statement.

India’s navy, which has disrupted several other attempted hijackings, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Sunday, the Puntland police said they had seized a vehicle that was transporting the narcotic khat to be supplied to the pirates on board Abdullah.

At the peak of their attacks in 2011, Somali pirates cost the global economy an estimated $7 billion, including hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom payments.

(Reporting by Abdiqani Hassan and Abdi Sheik; Writing by Giulia Paravicini; Editing by Aaron Ross, William Maclean)