The U. S. Maritime Administration warned ship operators Wednesday to expect more attacks by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia from October through early December now that the monsoon season is coming to an end.
More favorable weather conditions allow for small boat activity in the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, Indian Ocean and waters off the Horn of Africa region. Recent attacks have occurred off the Kenyan and Tanzanian coasts, the Southern Red Sea, Seychelles, and Maldives.
At least 25 hijacked vessels and one barge are still being held for ransom by Somali pirates, and at least 434 hostages -- including an elderly British yachting couple and the 5 new hostages from Somalia -- are waiting to be released once the ransoms are paid, according to Ecoterra International, an environmental group that monitors pirate attacks.
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“The change in season means every precaution must be taken in order to defend against pirate attacks,” said Maritime Administrator David Matsuda. “Our agency remains committed to helping U.S. crewmembers be vigilant and well-prepared for pirate attacks.”
In response to pirate attacks worldwide, the Maritime Administration said it is working with other federal agencies and partners to reduce the vulnerability of U.S. ships and crews by:
-- issuing advisories directly to U.S. ship operators based on latest intelligence.
-- working with industry to improve implementation of best practices to deter piracy.
-- distributing industry produced anti-piracy training videos for crews.
-- conducting voluntary security vulnerability assessments by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service on U.S. ships.
-- Contact Peter T. Leach at firstname.lastname@example.org.