Suspected Somali pirates attack Italian ship

Suspected Somali pirates attacked an Italian-owned cargo ship on Monday as it headed for Kenya’s Mombasa port through one of the world’s most dangerous waterways, a regional maritime group said.

Andrew Mwangura, director of Mombasa-based East African Seafarers Assistance Programme, said the large MV Jolly T was attacked by gunmen believed to be pirates off the shore of Somalia after bringing general cargo through the Suez canal.

It was unclear if the ship had been captured or escaped.

”These must be Somali pirates. We don’t know how many crew are on board,” Mwangura told Reuters, saying the sketchy information came from shipping sources in the region.

”At the moment, we are trying to find out if it is being held captive anywhere, so that we can monitor its position.”

Since Somalia collapsed into anarchy in 1991, pirates have taken advantage of the power vacuum and chaos on shore to hijack ships and demand ransoms with relative impunity.

A brief lull during last year’s six-month Islamist rule of south Somalia — which deterred the pirates — ended earlier this year. Since then a spate of attacks have followed.

The pirates generally use speedboats for early morning attacks, and sometimes justify their actions as defending Somali waters against illegal fishing vessels and toxic dumping.

Mwangura said some of the cargo on the Italian ship was headed for an ”important diplomatic mission” in Nairobi.

”But we don’t know which one and whether this was known by the attackers,” he said. ”The report of the attack only reached us this morning.

Last week, pirates left a Japanese chemical tanker they had been holding since October after United States navy ships cornered them off north Somalia and helped negotiate an end to the stand-off. – Reuters

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Kenya opposition leader selects woman as running mate

For the first time a woman is running on a major presidential ticket – a big marker in Kenya’s history. But for marginalised voters, the politics of representation comes with many contradictions

Art imitates life at the National Arts Festival

This year’s National Arts Festival in Makhanda - the first live one since the pandemic - tackles unemployment, the Marikana Massacre and the manner in which black women in society are written about

Pride is a heavy price to pay

While constitutionally protected, the LGBTQIA+ community is being failed by the state

Africa’s Covid neglect poses global danger

Low vaccination levels and high number of health-compromised populations make the continent a ‘breeding ground for variants’ that pose a global risk

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…