Warships and private security providers in the Gulf of Aden are gearing up for a surge in Somali piracy as the monsoon season draws to a close, according to sources based in the region.
Although a cluster of attacks south of Somalia was seen late last week, weather forecasts suggest poor meteorological conditions off Mombasa and the Kenyan coast in the coming days will disrupt pirate activity in this area.
However, one private security concern stressed attacks are nevertheless still possible. Gulf of Aden Group Transits said in a circular to clients: “Pirate action groups have been known to attempt attacking and boarding in harsh weather conditions.
“The use of the local Somali drug khat by pirates may also cause pirate action groups to take higher risks when attempting to attack and hijack vessels. Be aware that the strong southern weather may also push pirate action group operations further north.”
Meanwhile, the Vietnamese operator of bulk carrier Hoang Son Sun has reportedly paid more than $2m in ransom to free the ship and its crew held hostage by Somali pirates since the start of the year.
All 24 seafarers on board landed at Hanoi’s Noi Bai international airport on Friday, Hoang Son deputy general director Nguyen Truong Son told Agence France Presse, adding: “We had to pay the pirates $2.6m. The money was from our own company.”
On the other side of Africa, Spanish tanker Mattheos I was freed on Saturday after 10 days in pirate hands. All 23 people on board were said to be well.