A commercial ship from the UK was hijacked by pirates Friday and is now heading full speed to Somalia with the original crew still on board. The Daily Mailreports that while the crew of the MV Ruen are all safe, according to the UK’s Marine Trade Operations, they no longer have control of the vessel.
It is unknown how many total sailors are on board.
The EU’s counter-Somali Piracy Force, EUNAVFOR said that a Spanish warship has been utilized to investigate the hijacking “in order to gather more information and evaluate further actions.”
“Based on first information available on MV Ruen, the EUNAVFOR Operation ATALANTA flagship Spanish Ship Victoria is proceeding fast towards the alleged pirate-hijacked vessel to gain more awareness and evaluate following actions,” the EU’s force said in a statement to Reuters.
“EUNAVFOR remains vigilant to this and other recent piracy-related events in the area of operations, the northwest Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.”
A Somalian resident, who is a member of a group that raided ships in the past, told Reuters by phone: “Six of my pirate friends managed to capture a ship and they will bring it to the coast of the eastern region of Puntland,” said Mukhtar Mohamud.
Puntland’s maritime authorities had no immediate comment.
This incident would reportedly be the first successful hijacking by Somali pirates since 2017, when international navy forces stopped a slew of seizures in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.