By: Tyler Dossett
Somalia pirates have been hijacking more and more ships off the coasts of Europe and Africa. On Saturday, December 11, 2010, a cargo vessel traveling off the coast of India was captured by pirates. Although the European Union’s Anti-Piracy Force says the ship was captured about 1,000 miles out at sea, the EU Naval Force said the attack took place only 550 miles off the coast. When pirates attacked the MV Renuar, a Panama-flagged and Liberian owned cargo vessel, they consisted of two smaller ships guarding a mother ship. They used small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades to take over the ship containing 24 Filipino crew members, but their condition is not yet known.
Somalia pirates were able to pull off one of the most southerly attacks when hijacking a U.S. operated ship off the coast of the Tanzania-Mozambique border. This is because Somalia pirates have decided to extend the range of their attacks to avoid detection from the EU Naval Force guarding Somalia’s coast.
Mohammad Shahjahan, a shipping company owner, said pirates hijacked the M.V. Jahan Moni while it was anchored off the Somalia coast. Shahjahan told reporters that the Bangladeshis were all being held in the top of the ship in the wheel room, “but they are safe.” The ship had been carrying nickel ore when it was hijacked in the Arabian Sea, off the India coast when it was heading from Singapore to Greece. It had loaded its cargo while being docked in Indonesia.
Somalia pirates currently hold over 500 crew members captive from more than 20 different ships. The release of these hostages and ships is only due to multi-million dollar ransoms. Multi-national forces are now stepping up their game to patrol the seas, but because of the distances that need to be covered and the fact that the pirates can attack even further offshore, this only makes their job tougher.