Somali pirates switch tacts, says tanker operator group

May 4, 2012 10:02 pm 

MANILA, May 4 – Tanker operator group, INTERTANKO, announced that Somali pirates are switching back to using smaller cargo and fishing boats as motherships, hoping to evade detection as maritime security is stepped up to foil their attacks on merchant vessels

"We are seeing a change in tactics. They are now hijacking smaller dhows and they are using them as motherships which is making them less suspicious," INTERTANKO managing director Joe Angelo said.

Armed gangs had started using large merchant vessels – including tankers – that they had seized as motherships, forcing crews by gunpoint to do their bidding. The tactic, employed aggressively in 2011, enabled them to operate further out at sea.

But vigorous action by navies, including pre-emptive strikes, have cut attacks, forcing pirates to adopt new tactics.

Traditional dhows, used by fishermen and general merchants in the region, were first deployed by Somali pirates before they started using larger captured vessels.

The larger vessels enabled gangs to operate for longer periods at sea with more supplies and in harsher weather conditions, as well giving them more flexibility when launching their high speed attack craft known as skiffs. (PNA)

RMA/PFN

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