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Somali Pirates highjack first ship since 2017

MOGADISHU (SD) -A merchant ship flying the Maltese flag has reportedly been seized by Somali pirates, according to the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) engaged in countering piracy off the coast of Somalia.

If officially confirmed, this would be the first piracy incident involving a merchant ship since 2017.

The EU NAVFOR’s Operational Headquarters in Spain has stated that they received information about the seizure of the merchant ship named “Ruen.” The incident reportedly occurred in the vicinity of the Yemeni island of Socotra, approximately 500 nautical miles east of Somalia’s coastline.

One of the individuals previously associated with groups conducting attacks on ships confirmed that they had heard about the successful hijacking of a ship and that it was headed towards the eastern shores of Puntland.

“It has been reported that a group of pirates was able to successfully board and hijack a ship. They are expected to bring it to the shores of Puntland, in the eastern coastal areas,” said Mukhtar Mohamed, who is currently in the city of Qandala.

The name of the ship and further details are not yet available, and there is no official statement from the Puntland authorities.

The EU NAVFOR’s counter-piracy operation reported that the Spanish warship Victoria was dispatched to investigate the situation involving the merchant ship.

The British maritime security company Ambrey has indicated that the vessel Ruen has likely been hijacked by pirates.

As of Wednesday, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) reported receiving information from a naval officer indicating that the crew was safe and that the situation was still under control. The ship was last seen heading toward Somalia, according to tracking data from the London Shipping Exchange Group (LSEG).

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