EntertainmentSomali pirates resurface, hijack Bangladeshi ship amid global tensions

Somali pirates resurface, hijack Bangladeshi ship amid global tensions

Somali pirates kidnapped the ship
Somali pirates kidnapped the ship
Images source: © Canva
3:22 PM EDT, March 22, 2024

Somali pirates are making headlines again. Amid global focus on Yemen's Houthi group pirates, these adversaries from the Indian Ocean have launched another assault, targeting a Bangladeshi cargo ship and taking a dozen hostages on board.

Maritime and oceanic transport face numerous risks, including storms and shallow waters. However, the greatest peril for those at sea no longer comes from the natural world but from modern pirates. These contemporary buccaneers might not sport hooks for hands or wooden legs, but they pose a greater danger than their legendary counterparts.

Somali pirates amidst Houthi militia's shadow

Since 2008, Somali pirates, prowling the waters around Africa's horn, have been the predominant threat in African waters. These armed groups hijacked numerous ships, instilling fear in sailors and transport company owners alike. In response, a coalition including Russia, Japan, NATO, the United States, and the Netherlands, among others, was formed to combat this threat, often finding Poles among the crew members of captured vessels.

Somali pirates have struck again
Somali pirates have struck again© Canva | Canva

After 2011, a significant reduction in Somali pirates' activity was noticed, presumably because the substantial ransoms they acquired diminished their need to seize ships. Yet, in November 2023, the issue of maritime kidnappings resurfaced, this time with Houthi militants from Yemen using helicopters to seize vessels in the Red Sea, threatening to attack ships from countries opposing Yemen.

Return of the Somali pirates

Hope for an end to Somali pirate activities was dashed on March 13, 2024, when an armed group hijacked the Abdullah, a ship under the Bangladeshi flag, with 23 crew members aboard. After boarding and firing warning shots, the pirates confiscated the crew's phones. Despite managing to send a distress signal, help was not timely enough.

A recording shared with Reuters by senior officer Atiq Ullah Khan confirmed that no one was injured. The ship is now anchored off the coast of Somalia. It remains unclear whether the situation will change. The pirates have threatened to kill more crew members unless a five-million-dollar ransom is paid.

The President of Somalia is keeping a close eye on the unfolding events. While some officials downplay the severity, comparing it to the peak piracy years of 2008-2014, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is wary, warning journalists that the emerging piracy movement could regain its former strength unless promptly addressed.

Related content