The dramatic rescue at sea of a US captain detained by Somali gunmen for more than a week did very little to deter other gunmen from hijacking more ships entering the Gulf of Aden. AP reported on Monday three more ships were attacked. On Monday, gunmen presumed to be Somali hijackers seized two Egyptian fishing boats in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia’s northern coast, according to Egypt’s Foreign Ministry. A source from a Somali diplomat based in Cairo confirmed as many as 24 Egyptians are believed to be onboard the vessels.
Early Tuesday, The M.V. Irene E.M. was hijacked. Still not clear is the origin of this ship. According to Associated Press, the ship launched a distress signal shortly after midnight “to say they had a suspicious vessel approaching. That rapidly turned into an attack and then a hijacking.” These are testimonies assembled from one of the contractors. “They tried to call in support on the emergency channels, but they never got any response.”
These latest hijackings came in the aftermath of Captain Richard Phillips’ rescue on Sunday after Navy SEAL snipers killed three young pirates who held him captive in a drifting lifeboat for five days. A fourth pirate surrendered after seeking medical attention for a wound he received in trying to take over Phillips.
These latest seizures underscore the growing tension in the Gulf of Aden, a two thousand miles waterway, which has been the main route for major cargo shipments for emerging countries like China and other industrial countries like Russia, the US and most of Western Europe.