News / Africa

Thai Fishermen Seized by Somali Pirates in Long-Distance Hijacking

Multimedia

Audio

Somali pirates hijacking vessels at sea have become an almost daily occurrence. But the latest incident is raising the alarm far from the East African coast.

It is a scenario that has become all but routine – an act of piracy on the high seas by Somalis. This time the pirates have hijacked three fishing vessels from Thailand (and operating from Djibouti) with a total crew of 77 Thais aboard the ships. But what is unusual is that it has taken place more than 1,900 kilometers east of the African coast.

Commander John Harbour is at the European Union's Naval Force Maritime Security Center in London.  

"Since the European Union Naval Force arrived in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin in the Indian Ocean back in December 2008, this is the farthest hijacking that we're aware of. In fact, it's closer to the Indian coast than it is to the Somali coast," Harbour said.

Patrols by European and American warships have compelled the pirates to venture farther from their home waters.

Authorities say the crews of the Thai fishing boats appear safe and that the hijacked vessels are heading towards the Somali coast.

Commander Harbour tells VOA News this latest incident – so far away from Somalia – should serve as a wake-up call for the international community.

"What EU NAVFOR would like to see, and probably other commanders in the area, would be for all regional players now to take this threat seriously and all regional players in the area to join us in fighting this scourge, this criminal activity," Harbour adds.

Somali pirates are blamed for seizing more than 20 vessels since the beginning of last month and are holding more than 200 crew members hostage.

Piracy is a lucrative, albeit dangerous, business. Shipping companies are known to pay hundreds of thousands – and sometimes millions – of dollars in ransom for the release of their crews and vessels.

The Seafarers' Assistance Program estimates there are 1,500 active pirates working for seven major syndicates in the waters between India and Africa. The group says the pirates' missions are financed by criminals in a number of countries besides Somalia, including Lebanon, Kenya and the United Arab Emirates.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Obama Pledges 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace Christmas precisely because of its non-religious glamor and commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid