Yemeni fishing boat freed from pirates

Published on 23 April 2012 in News
Ali Saeed (author)

Ali Saeed

Only one boat has been so far released of ten others still in abduction by the Somali pirates since January, 2012.

Only one boat has been so far released of ten others still in abduction by the Somali pirates since January, 2012.

AL-MAHRA, April 22 — Forces of the Yemeni Coast Guard, in coordination with Spanish Naval Forces in the Gulf of Aden, freed a Yemeni fishing boat from Somali pirates on Friday, 42 miles off the coast of Al-Mahra governorate, south of the port of Nashtun.

The boat, which was abducted by Somali pirates on March 26, has been returned to its owner in Al-Mahra, after being brought in to the port of Nashtun, Shuja’a Mahdi, commander of Yemeni Coast Guard Operations, told the Yemen Times on Saturday.

He explained that, “The Yemeni Coast Guard is preparing to attack pirates inside Yemen’s regional and economic waters, who are primarily at large during this season, as the sea is quiet and fishermen are there in large numbers.”

He added that the Somali pirates utilize the calm waters to attack Yemeni fishermen and commercial ships from all directions with small boats.

In the last four months, Somali pirates have hijacked approximately ten Yemeni fishing boats in different locations, including the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and around the island of Socotra, according to Yemeni Coast Guard officials.

“Only one of the hijacked boats has been rescued so far, and the others are still with the pirates,” said Mahdi.

He indicated that Yemeni fishermen do not abide by safety measures, and often fish in Somali regional waters, which are some of the richest with fish, but are highly vulnerable to piracy.

“We educated Yemeni fishermen on security and safety measures and told them not to enter Somali regional waters,” said Mahdi.

He added that Yemen’s Coast Guard also exchanges information on piracy with international naval forces in the Gulf of Aden in order to reduce attacks against Yemeni fishermen and commercial ships.

The Yemeni Coast Guard, which was established in 2003 and is run by the Ministry of Interior, still lacks sophisticated ships that can sail beyond Yemen’s economic and regional waters,  in order to combat Somali pirates who mostly operate outside Yemeni’s home waters, according to Yemeni Coast Guard.