Maritime security specialist Dryad Global says that reporting suggests that the Panama-flagged chemical vessel Aegean II IMO: 9016911 has been hijacked off the Horn of Africa. If true, this would be the first successful hijack in Somali waters since 2017.
Dryad says the vessel is believed to have been attacked on the evening (local time) of the 16th August 2020, by six pirates, after having developed mechanical issues.
According to the Equasis data base the 8,143 dwt 1994-built Aegean II is operated by Dubai-based Hanan Shipping.
Dryad say that the the vessel, which was in transit from the UAE to Mogadishu, is believed to have been attacked during its transit off the coast of the Horn of Africa, approximately 180 nm SW of Socotra.
“It is likely that the vessel slowed giving attackers ‘eyes on’ the vessel, and the ability to plan an opportunistic attack,” says Dryad. “The vessel was indicating that armed guards were embarked however this is not believed to be the case.”
Dryad says that this “appears to be an isolated and opportunistic incident which seized on a vessel in a vulnerable situation,” and that, though there remains a threat of piracy off the coast of Somalia which is credible and can manifest as it did in this instance, contextually the threat is vastly reduced on regional highs in 2011.
“Further intelligence sources also suggest that this vessel may have been seized as an act of maritime crime (not piracy), in what could have been an act with a commercial narrative,” says Dryad.