Boat hijacked by Somali pirates freed

Hijacked boat by Somalian pirates freed following clashes which claimed several pirates’ lives

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

In this photo taken Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, masked Somali pirate Abdi Ali stands near a Taiwanese fishing vessel that washed up on shore after the pirates were paid a ransom and released the crew, in the once-bustling pirate den of Hobyo, Somalia.

Updated Nov 30, 2015

A boat under the control of Somali pirates was freed following a gun battle which claimed the lives of several pirates, said fishermen and witnesses on Sunday.

There was no exact information to what had happened, or whether international forces were involved in the rescue, or if the crew took back the control of the boat by themselves.

However, security sources believe that the boat was an Iranian fishing vessel which was seized earlier this week along with its 15 crew members.

The boat was held off the central Somalian coastline.

"We heard heavy exchange of gunfire... Several of the pirates were killed and a boat they hijacked was freed," said Muktar Yakub, a fisherman in the Harardhere area, adding the boat had now disappeared from sight of the coast.

A local elder Abdulahi Bare stated that  "seven of the pirates were killed and two others were seriously wounded," however, the toll could not be independently confirmed.

2011 saw the peak of piracy when Somalian pirates captured more than 700 hostages, but rates of assaults have decreased mainly due to the deployment of armed guards on boats as well as navy patrols.

However, experts have alerted that excessive illegal fishing by foreign fishermen off Somalian coast is threatening economic gains and could lead to communities being pushed back to maritime crime.

Many pirates took advantage of Illegal fishing and used it as an excuse for attacks - seizing yachts, oil tankers, and container ships - however, the issue could promote a new round of piracy.

Dozens of hostages are still held captive in pirate hands, of whom include 26 sailors held hostage since March 2012 on the currently wrecked fishing boat Naham 3.

In March, two Iranian fishing boats were captured near Ceel Hur in central Somalia, but one boat was able to escape in August, while the other, the Siraj, is still occupied by the pirates.

Fifteen remaining crew members of the Siraj are held onshore, after four were freed by local authorities earlier this month.

TRTWorld and agencies