Piracy Incident Aboard German Cargo Ship Off Somalia Being Investigated

piracy incident
Basilisk was reported boarded while underway near Somalia (MINSHIP file photo)

Published May 23, 2024 1:18 PM by The Maritime Executive


The forces of EUNAVFOR Atalanta are responding to the reports of a privacy incident currently underway off the coast of Somalia. Details are still unfolding with later updates expected once the warship assigned to Atalanta reaches the scene.

Two small crafts are reported to have come alongside the Liberian-registered Basilisk (17,800 dwt). The vessel’s last AIS signal was transmitted two days ago as it was north of Madagascar. The indication is that the vessel was traveling from Porto Grande in Cape Verde where it departed on May 3 and was due to reach Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on May 29. Built in 2013, the vessel is a general multipurpose dry cargo ship managed by MINSHIP Shipmanagement of Germany.

Atalanta is placing the ship as sailing approximately 380 nautical miles east of Mogadishu, Somalia, heading north. The UK Maritime Trade Organizations places the vessel approximately 420 nautical miles southeast of Merca, Somalia.

There are unconfirmed reports that the crew was able to secure themselves in the vessel’s citadel. Atalanta reports one of its warships is in the vicinity and is first to respond.

At the beginning of last week, there were reports that pirates had hijacked another fishing dhow off the coast of Somalia. In the past, EUNAVFOR Atalanta has warned that attacks on merchant ships appear to take place within 12 days after reports of dhow hijackings.

Its strongest warnings however are for the area around Socotra island closer to Yemen. They have warned that at least two groups were thought to be active in that area.

Last week, a Spanish frigate working with the EU forces was able to capture pirates who approached an oil product tanker, Chrystal Arctic. Six individuals were taken to the Seychelles for prosecution for attempted piracy.