This seizure indicates the mounting capabilities of pirates in the region as well as the difficulty of stemming the growing tide of modern piracy.
Despite a multinational naval task force having been assembled earlier this year to address Somali piracy, there have been continued and increasingly troublesome hijackings in the region. The International Chamber of Commerce Commercial Crime Services' report on the incident includes this statement from Pottengal Mukundan, the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Director:
The BBC reports that the IMB's Piracy Reporting Centre
Although this is just the latest of a large spike in attacks off the east coast of Africa, this incident is significant on two counts. Firstly, this is the largest vessel to have been hijacked. Secondly, the distance from the shore would suggest a highly organised operation -- this is not mere opportunism.
said it had records of 92 attacks against vessels so far this year, including 36 successful hijackings. This month alone, pirates have seized a Japanese cargo ship off Somalia, a Chinese fishing boat off Kenya and a Turkish ship transporting chemicals off Yemen.An interactive map of pirate activity in 2008 can be found here.