Somalia pirates: Anger fuels return of ship attacks

Somalia pirates: Anger fuels return of ship attacks

"We shall kill the crew if Puntland forces fire on us again", pirate Abdullahi told Reuters.

The incident was the first in some time in a part of the world where pirate hijackings had been common as recently as 2011, the height of the Somali pirate activities.

The pirates said they had captured the vessel to protest illegal fishing.The hijackers disembarked from the vessel on Thursday and released the eight Sri Lankan crew members they had captured earlier this week.

"The release was made hours after the pirates and the European Union Naval Force exchanged gunfire, which was followed by extensive negotiations".

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The ship had been carrying fuel from Djibouti to Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, when it was approached by men in two skiffs.

Steed says the world can not afford to see the re-emergence of piracy off the coast of Somalia. Officials in Puntland sent local forces to assist in rescue efforts of the hostages on board the vessel.

Somali pirates began staging waves of attacks in 2005, seriously disrupting a major worldwide shipping route and costing the global economy billions of dollars.

He also said that the Combined Maritime Force in Bahrain is in contact with the Somali Maritime Police on Sri Lanka's behalf.

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"The question wasn't really if an attack was going to happen, the question was when", said Steed.

The ship's master had confirmed that the armed pirates are demanding a ransom for the release of the ship. Hijacking attacks resulted in hundreds of hostages being held for ransom.

Puntland's Anti-Piracy Agency Director Abdirizak Mohamed Ahmed said that the men told authorities that the ship was taken only as a protest of the illegal fishing in local waters and not for ransom. It is not yet known is the pirates were professionals or just fishermen.

Though anti-piracy measures ended attacks on commercial vessels, fishing boats have continued to face attacks.

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