NATO told to tackle illegal fishing or face more Somali hijackings

NATO forces are being urged to help stamp out illegal fishing off the Horn of Africa or risk witnessing repeated vessel hijackings in the region.

Speaking out in the wake of the capture last week of the UAE-controlled product tanker Aris 13, the first vessel hijacking by Somalis since 2012, a senior political figure made the express link between illegal fishing and piracy.

“We requested NATO warships to tackle the illegal fishing, but they replied it was not their mandate,” Abdihakim Abdullahi Omar, the vice president of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, told reporters at Bosasso port yesterday.

The eight Sri Lankan crewmembers and the hijacked tanker were returned unharmed after four days.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Every time that illegal fishing is used to justify the Somali pirate’s actions, I can’t help wondering why they’ve hijacked so few foreign fishing boats.

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