Hijacked dhow Asayr II, taken by Somalian pirates on Thursday March 23rd, has been released after taking one skiff, food and diesel. The whereabouts of the pirates is not known. Earlier reports had indicated that the pirates had been holding seven crewmembers hostage onboard the vessel, thought to be a Somali dhow operating out of Bosasso. It had been transporting fuel from Djibouti to Mogadishu. Local reports said that Asayr 2 had about 20 crew onboard and a Somali guard.
After the attack by six pirates in two skiffs, most of the crew and the guard were said to have been taken to the village of Maraya in the semi-autonomous Somali state of Puntland. The pirates then returned to sea, taking seven of the crew with them. Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) said that attacks on dhows had historically been under-reported by the major agencies, with the agency estimating that during 2010 and 2011 more than 1,000 crewmen were shanghaied into assisting in pirate attacks, either acting as human shields or as captive crew on motherships which were involved in attacks on larger vessels.
The European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) has called on vessels to remain vigilant in the Indian Ocean in the light of recent events and to stay within the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor as they transit through the Gulf of Aden. Italian Navy Maestrale class frigate ITS Espero has been brought in to strengthen EUNAVFOR off the coast of Somalia. It will cover the Gulf of Aden and Somali basin.