Finnish trawlers have been seized by pirates off the coast of Puntland, maritime
The vessels were hijacked on Wednesday but it is unclear if they were fishing
near Somalia, Andrew Mwangura of the Seafarers Assistance Programme said.
Mr Mwangura said armed pirates were in command of the boats but the number
and nationalities of the crew are unknown.
Piracy has been rampant in Somalia for many years, but stopped last year for
several months under Islamist rule.
Last month pirates set free a UN chartered ship, Mv Rozen after taking its
crew- six Kenyans and Six Sri Lankans – hostage for more than 40 days.
The authorities in the semi-autonomous Puntland area arrested several of them.
« We have reports that the pirates are heavily armed but are investigating
details on the crew, their safety and where the ships were coming from, »
said Mr Mwangura.
Since the overthrow of the Union of Islamic Courts in December insecurity
in Mogadishu has deteriorated.
But interim government officials say they have now taken charge of the capital,
after days of battles with insurgents and Hawiye clan fighters opposed to
Maritime officials fear that the recent hijackings may signal a resumption
of lawlessness on the seas.