“Lorenzo Putha” Abducted by Somali Pirates

“Lorenzo Putha” Abducted by Somali Pirates

The Sri Lankan multi-day fishing trawler, “Lorenzo Putha – 4,” and its crew have been abducted by Somali Pirates in the Arabian Sea. The vessel set sail from the Dikowita fishing harbor on January 12 and was seized approximately 1,160 nautical miles away from the Sri Lankan maritime boundary.

Maritime officials have issued warnings about the potential resurgence of Somali pirates, who had remained dormant for the past three years. The pirates, notorious for abducting merchant ships and sailors, were known to demand hefty ransoms from vessel owners. The international coalition of warships, which Sri Lanka is set to join, had already cautioned against the return of Somali pirates amid the turbulent situation in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

The surprising aspect of this incident is that Somali pirates typically targeted larger vessels for ransom, employing armed guards known as Sea Marshals as a deterrent. The abduction of a small fishing trawler, which holds little value for the pirates, has raised eyebrows within the maritime community.

Palitha Atukorale, President of the National Union of Seafarers Sri Lanka, expressed surprise at the incident, highlighting that small fishing crafts were not the usual targets for Somali pirates.

This alarming development follows reports of another hijacking in the region involving a Yemeni fishing boat named Emerat-2. UK Maritime Trade Organization (UKMTO) confirmed the hijacking, with concerns arising that pirates might be utilizing smaller fishing boats as mother vessels for future attacks. The exact number of individuals aboard the Emerat-2 remains unclear.

Security authorities are now on high alert, given the potential threat posed by Somali pirates exploiting smaller vessels as bases for piracy attacks. The recent incidents underscore the need for increased vigilance and coordinated efforts to counteract piracy threats in the region. While the last confirmed piracy incident in the area occurred in 2019, the resurgence of Somali pirates remains a concerning development for maritime security.

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