Special forces from the United Arab Emirates stormed a hijacked ship on Saturday, rescuing the crew and capturing all of the pirates who had seized the vessel the day before.
The oil tanker MV Arrilah-1, owned by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, was hijacked in the Arabian Sea, east of Oman early on Friday. The International Maritime Bureau reported that two skiffs, each with three pirates, chased and fired at the bulk carrier. They boarded the ship while the crew took shelter in its citadel.
The United Arab Emirates’ Anti-Terrorist unit, Air Forces and Air Defence units, in co-ordination with the Bahrain-based US 5th fleet, boarded the vessel and arrested the pirates. All the crew are safe and in good health.
“Clearly the UAE is setting a model by using force since other methods to date are seemly inadequate especially when it comes to UAE-owned shipping which are increasingly pirate targets,” Dr Theodore Karaski, director of Research and Development at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis told Gulf News.
“To date, the anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden is not a success story. The pirates continue to outmanoeuvre Combined Task Force 151 and EUNAV forces in terms of area of operations and intelligence collection of lucrative prey. These anti-piracy operations need to be stepped up further and a collective security regime may be the appropriate remedy,” he added.
The UAE-flagged ship is heading to Jebel Alil in Dubai with an armed guard on board. The pirates will be handed over to interior ministry officials upon reaching shore.
Somali pirates are currently holding more than 30 ships and 700 hostages. According to the International Maritime Bureau, there have been three attempted hijackings so far this month, all of them unsuccessful.
In late March a UAE-flagged, Kuwaiti-owned oil tanker was hijacked by pirates and taken to the Somali coast. It had 29 crew on board, including 17 Pakistanis. According to the European Union Naval Force, the MV Zirku was seized some 250 nautical miles southeast of Oman.
Pic: Abu Dhabi National Tanker Company.