Puntland anti-piracy boss fired over illegal fishing claims

The president of the semi-autonomous Puntland region of Somalia Abdiweli Ali has sacked the head of anti-piracy operations in the wake of last week’s hijacking of a Dubai-controlled tanker. The president claimed Abdirizak Dirir was fired as there was “a need for change and redoubling efforts to fight Puntland’s piracy” – a claim rejected by the ex-anti-piracy boss. Interviewed by Reuters, Dirir claims he was given the boot for linking the attack with illegal fishing.

“The problem with Puntland is that if you talk about illegal fishing, you are seen as a criminal.

“But I will not stop talking about illegal fishing because if this is not stopped, piracy will restart again,” he told Reuters.

The Aris 13 – and its eight Sri Lankan crew – were freed after 72 hours with no ransom paid. It was the

The UN Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group said last October it was “concerned that illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by foreign vessels may re-establish the conflict dynamic with local fishing communities that contributed to the rise of piracy a decade ago”.

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.
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