Muscat: Five days after their reported abduction by Somali pirates from Masirah waters, there is no news or contact from the “missing” fishermen.“We are trying our best to trace them but there is no news of them till now,- Saeed Rashid, the owner of the “hijacked- fishing boat, told Times of Oman yesterday. According to the boat owner, the boat had four Indians and three Bangladeshis on board. “They went for fishing as usual on June 20 morning. On June 23, when my second boat returned to the coast, they informed me that the first one (which has now been ‘hijacked’) has been stranded as it ran out of fuel. “Since then, I have been trying my best to cooperate with the security forces to rescue my fishermen. But nothing has turned fruitful,- the boat owner added. “We informed the police and coast guard on June 23 itself. Navy planes and police patrol boats are still looking for them,- he added. The boat went missing from Al Ashakara coast when they went to fishing to the inner seas.
According to International Maritime Bureau’s anti-crime arm, an LNG tanker was attacked last Wednesday by pirates off the coast of Oman. There are increased concerns over the pirates extending the geographic range of their operations. Meanwhile, The Human Cost of Piracy 2011, a report written jointly by Kaija Hurlburt of One Earth Future for its Oceans Beyond Piracy project and by the International Maritime Bureau, states that in 2011, at least 3,863 seafarers were fired upon by Somali pirates armed with assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades. While the number of hostages has gone down over the past year, the violence faced by seafarers has remained high and attacks are often carried out with a determined ferocity -” even against vessels protected by private security teams. As many as 968 seafarers faced armed pirates who managed to board their vessels and 413 of these seafarers were rescued from citadels (secured rooms) on their vessels by naval forces after waiting and terrified for hours, or even days, while pirates tried to break into the citadels. 1,206 hostages
According to the report, at least 1,206 hostages were held captive by the Somali pirates in 2011. These included 555 seafarers who were attacked and taken hostage during the year, 645 hostages captured in 2010 who remained in pirates’ hands during 2011, and six tourists and aid workers kidnapped on land. The average length of captivity has also increased by 50 per cent over last year, up to an average length of over eight months. Often these hostages face systematic and daily psychological and physical abuse and are even used as human shields. In the pirate attacks, eight people were killed by pirates during an initial attack or after being taken captive; eight died from disease or malnutrition while being held; and 19 died in crossfire while being used as human shields and during hostage rescue attempts.
This article was posted by Neptune Maritime Security via timesofoman.com. MaritimeSecurity.Asia in cooperation with www.neptunemaritimesecurity.com