Somali Pirates Hijack Turkish Vessel
April 08, 2010NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Somali pirates hijacked a Turkish vessel with 25 crew onboard on Wednesday, the EU Naval Force said, the day after a hostage drowned during a separate encounter between naval forces and a pirated vessel.
The MV Yasin C was taken around midday 250 miles (400 kilometers) off the Kenyan coast, said EU naval spokesman Cmdr. John Harbour, adding the crew onboard the 36,000-ton bulk carrier are believed to be Turkish.
It is the closest successful hijacking to Kenya's coast, said Karen Jacques of Dryad Maritime Intelligence, but two other attacks on March 31 were much closer -- one a mere 85 miles (135 kilometers) from the bustling southern port of Mombasa.
“The attacks were too far apart to be from the same group,” she said, which she said indicates that at least two pirate groups are threatening shipping coming to the Kenyan port.
Somali pirate attacks have spiked in recent weeks and both pirates and navies are becoming more aggressive.
In a separate incident, a hostage onboard the hijacked Indian cargo dhow Faize Osamani drowned after the ship was used to attack another vessel and navies intervened on Tuesday.
Pirates aboard the Faize Osamani tried to attack the MV Rising Sun, which used evasive maneuvers and sent a distress signal picked up by U.S. and Omani forces. The warship from Oman, a Persian Gulf nation, arrived first, and the nine hostages jumped overboard to try to swim away from the pirates. One drowned and the other eight were rescued, said a press release from the U.S. Fifth Fleet.
It is a common tactic for pirates to hijack small dhows and use them as “motherships” to resupply their speedboats and sneak up on unsuspecting targets.
The U.S. destroyer USS McFaul arrived on the scene after the Omani forces and helped persuade the ten suspected pirates to surrender, which they did after throwing their weapons overboard. The USS McFaul then took the ten men into custody and transferred them to the USS Carney, the press release said. The U.S. hopes to find a nation willing to try the pirates.
As crews become better trained, like those aboard the Rising Sun who managed to evade their pursuers, pirates are becoming more violent. In response, navies are becoming more aggressive in their pursuit of the pirates and their vessels.
At least 16 ships and around 240 crew are believed to be currently held by pirates off the lawless coast of Somalia.
Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991. Multimillion-dollar ransoms have become a way to make money in the impoverished nation.