Bangladeshi Bulk Carrier Seized by Pirates in Indian Ocean, Crew Held Hostage

Bangladeshi cargo ship

New Delhi: In a harrowing turn of events, the Bangladeshi cargo ship MV Abdullah has been hijacked in the Indian Ocean, with reports indicating that it is now en route to the Somali coast. The vessel, which was transporting a hefty cargo of 55,000 tonnes of coal from Mozambique to the United Arab Emirates, fell victim to piracy that has seen a worrying resurgence in recent months.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) disclosed that the ship was overtaken by a group of individuals aboard two crafts, one significantly larger than the other. The UKMTO’s Company Security Officer (CSO) has confirmed that the crew, comprising 23 members, remains unharmed despite the presence of 22 unauthorized armed persons on the vessel.

The MV Abdullah’s last recorded coordinates were at 0149N 05425E, navigating on a bearing of 315 degrees toward the Somali shoreline. Ambrey, a maritime security firm, has refrained from explicitly attributing the attack to Somali pirates, although the region is notorious for such threats.

The ship, identified as a Bangladesh-flagged bulk carrier, is owned by Kabir Steel Re-Rolling Mills. Meherul Karim, the CEO of the company, was quoted by Al-Jazeera stating that a contingent of 15-20 Somali pirates commandeered the vessel.

In light of the incident, UKMTO has issued a cautionary notice to other ships traversing the vicinity, emphasizing the need for heightened vigilance and confirming that an investigation into the hijacking is underway.

Bangladeshi cargo ship

This incident marks a significant concern as Somali pirates had largely remained inactive since their peak of infamy between 2008 and 2018. However, data from the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa, which oversees the European Union’s anti-piracy operation EUNAVFOR, indicates a troubling spike in pirate activities, with over 20 hijackings or attempts recorded in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin since the previous November.