JANUARY 2011: My Surface Interval named one of the best scuba diving blogs

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pirates hijack dive boat

Not content with oil tankers and cargo ships, it would appear Somali pirates have branched out to seize a luxury liveaboard offering trips around the Seychelles.

The Indian Ocean Explorer, one of the boats offered by UK operator Aquatours, was hijacked last week shortly after dropping a group of divers following a trip around the archipelago's pristine coral reef system.

Kirk Green, director of Aquatours said he had been told the boat would be taken to Harardhere, a pirate stronghold north of Mogadishu and could be held about three months.
"It's the first time it's happened to us, so it's a bit of a shock at the moment," he told the Associated Press.

"Obviously one of the feelings we have is relief because none of our clients were taken. But on the other hand, we are extremely concerned about our crew."

Since the incident security forces have deployed to outer islands of the Seychelles archipelago. Foreign Affairs Minister Patrick Pillay said his government had contacted naval forces in the region who "guaranteed to track down the boat."

Aquatours website offers said the vessel offered itineraries range from 3 to 15 days to "Places Once Called "Inaccessible" such as Aldabra, the World Heritage Site visited by only 182 very fortunate divers a year, and the Seychelles Inner Islands where the specialty is Whale Sharks.

It is thought the pirates had moved further into the Indian Ocean after an international naval force began patrolling waters close to Somalia following a number of high profile hijackings in the Gulf of Aden.


Anonymous said...

An article in the guardian last week quoted some somali pirates who said they had been driven to it. The argument basically was that their failed country was unable to stop other fishing fleets (such as the Korean) from entering Somali water bringing to an end centuries of small boat fishing in their culture. An interesting perspective anyway.

Absolutmark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Absolutmark said...

Anonymous, I think I found the article you referred to in The Times (can't post link so search times website for story written by Sahal Abdulle and Rob Crilly dated April 7) It makes interesting reading. You've got to hand it to the pirates, they've certainly come up with an ingenious way to fight back in the face of the plundering of their watwers by foreign fishing fleets. Lets hope that issue also gets looked at by the navy flotilla sent to tackle the pirates. I somehow doubt it though, with no functioning government there's no one to lobby for help