It’s spring, and pirate season has returned to the Indian Ocean and the coast of Somalia.
Last spring it was the Danish ship Danica White that was captured by Somali pirates, and the unfortunate crew was held for two and a half months until the pirates’ ransom demands were met.
This year it’s a Spanish tuna boat, Playa de Bakio. According to a story from Iranian Press TV:
Spanish boat seized by pirates
A Basque tuna boat, “Playa de Bakio” carrying a crew of 26 has been taken over by pirates off the Somali coast.
The statement was made by a spokesman from Spain’s foreign ministry. There are thirteen Spanish nationals and thirteen African crew-members on board the boat which was seized by pirates about 400 km off the coast of Somalia on Sunday, public radio RNE reported earlier, as did AFP.
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According to the radio report, the boat is heading to Somalia.
This is while a source from the Basque government’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Food department told the Spanish news agency, Efe, that four armed pirates took control of the boat using grenade launchers, BBC reported.
The source said the boat suffered “some damage” in the attack but was “navigable”.
This new incident comes just a few days after a Paris court charged six Somalis with taking the French luxury yacht, Le Ponant’s crew hostage earlier this month. The yacht’s 30-member crew were held hostage for a week but released after its owners apparently paid a ransom of USD 2m. The pirates were then picked up by French commandos in a helicopter raid.
Over the past year, more than 25 ships have been seized by pirates in Somali coastal waters.
Hat tip: Larwyn.