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Somali pirates hijack Iranian fishing vessel to act as Mother Vessel - #UKMTO Update #piracy #marsec

Somali pirates hijacked an Iranian fishing vessel on Tuesday to use as a base to attack bigger, more valuable ships, the mayor of a Somali town said, part of an upsurge in attacks following years of relative calm.

Crews have let security procedures slip in recent years and travel far closer to pirate-infested shores than authorities recommend, shipping sources say. The pirate gangs launch small, fast skiffs from bases on shore to try hijack vessels.

"A group of Somali pirates captured an Iranian fishing vessel and are using it as a mother ship in order to hijack (other) ships," Ali Shire, the mayor of Haabo in the northern semi-autonomous region of Puntland, told Reuters.

"The Iranian fishing vessel does not have a license (to fish) in Puntland," he added.

Local fishermen have been angered by the return of unlicensed international fishing vessels to Somali waters, blaming them for reducing the local catch.

The region is also suffering a severe drought that threatens to tip the Horn of Africa nation back into famine.




2. Description: UKMTO has been advised that a dhow in position 1157N 05035E (Xabo) is being prepared to potentially be used as a mother ship involved in piracy activity. Dhow is Iranian style fishing dhow, brown wooden superstructure with blue and white wheelhouse. Merchant vessels transiting the area are advised to exercise extreme caution and report any suspicious activity to UKMTO.

Image of suspect Dhow (UKMTO/EUNAVFOR)

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