Mombasa (Kenya): Suspected Somali pirates
have hijacked a Kenyan-flagged fishing boat with 16 crew which
may be used as a "mother ship" to launch more attacks in the
Indian Ocean, maritime sources said on Tuesday.
Andrew Mwangura, the head of the East African Seafarers
Assistance Programme said that the MV Sakoba had a Spanish
captain and 15 other crew members from Kenya, Poland, Senegal,
Cape Verde and Namibia.
"The vessel was taken hostage in waters off the Kenyan
and Seychellois coasts last week", he said.
The European Union`s Atalanta anti-piracy naval mission
confirmed in a statement that the ship was in the hands of
pirates today and heading towards the Somali pirate lair of
"The Kenyan flagged fishing vessel Sakoba is reported
hijacked 400 nautical miles east of Dar es Salam," the
Atalanta spokesman John Harbour said to a news agency that the ship`s ownership was unclear and voiced fears that the hijacked
vessel might be used by the pirates as a floating base from
which to launch their skiffs on more victims.
"We don`t know who owns the ship. We know that in 2007 it
was Spanish owned," Harbour said. "In fact, that ship might
have been used by pirates as a mother ship."
Spain`s fisheries federation Cepesca said in a statement
that the ship`s operator was Kenyan while the foreign ministry
stressed that "the only connection with Spain is that the
captain is Spanish."