EU anti-piracy force flags possible attack off Somali coast

EU anti-piracy force flags possible attack off Somali coast
epa07310869 (FILE) - German Navy (Bundesmarine) frigate Augsburg (F213) docked in Wilhelmshaven, northern Germany, 03 September 2018 (reissued 23 January 2019). Media reports quoting military sources state on 23 January 2019, that Germany will not be sending any more ships in the Mediterranean Sea suspending its participation in the EU mission Sophia (EU NAVFOR Med), which is aimed at combatting criminal networks and people smuggling in the Mediterranean Sea. German Navy frigate Augsburg, currently stationed off the coast of Libya, will not be replaced upcoming February after concluding a five-month deployment in the Mediterranean Sea, media added. EPA-EFE/FOCKE STRANGMANN

NAIROBI, May 23 (Reuters) - The European Union's anti-piracy force in the Indian Ocean and Red Sea, Operation Atalanta, on Thursday flagged a possible pirate attack on the Liberian-flagged merchant vessel Basilisk off the coast of Somalia.

Somali pirates caused havoc in the waters off the east African country’s long coastline between 2008 and 2018. They had been dormant until late last year when pirate activity started to pick up again.

The EU force said in a statement that the suspected attack happened about 380 nautical miles east of the Somali capital Mogadishu while the vessel was heading north.

“One of Atalanta warships in the vicinity has been the first actor to respond. EUNAVFOR ATALANTA is taking the appropriate actions to respond,” it added.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency earlier said it had received a report of a vessel being boarded 420 nautical miles southeast of Merca, Somalia.

An unknown number of unauthorised people from two small craft were reported to have boarded the vessel, according to UKMTO.

(Reporting by George Obulutsa in Nairobi and Bhargav Acharya in Johannesburg; Editing by Alexander Winning and Marguerita Choy)


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