General area of the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and Socotra Passage where pirates operate

Piracy off the coast of Somalia has been a threat to international shipping since the beginning of the Somali Civil War in the early 1990s.[1] Since 2005, many international organizations have expressed concern over the rise in acts of piracy.[2][3] Piracy impeded the delivery of shipments and increased shipping expenses, costing an estimated $6.6-$6.9 billion a year in global trade according to Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP).[4] According to the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), a veritable industry of profiteers also arose around the piracy. Insurance companies significantly increased their profits from the pirate attacks as insurance companies hiked premium rates in response.[5]

Combined Task Force 150, a multinational coalition task force, took on the role of fighting the piracy by establishing a Maritime Security Patrol Area (MSPA) within the Gulf of Aden and Socotra Passage.[6] According to the International Maritime Bureau, pirate attacks had by October 2012 dropped to a six-year low, with only one ship attacked in the third quarter compared to thirty-six during the same period in 2011.[7] By December 2013, the US Office of Naval Intelligence reported that only 9 vessels had been attacked during the year by pirates, with zero successful hijackings.[8] Control Risks attributed this 90% decline in pirate activity from the corresponding period in 2012 to the adoption of better management practices by vessel owners and crews, armed private security on board ships, a significant naval presence, and the development of onshore security forces.[9]

List of ships captured or attacked off the Somali coast


Image Flag (owner) Name (class) Crew (cargo) Status Date of attack Coordinates
Date of release Ransom demanded
 Hong Kong MV Feisty Gas
(LPG carrier)
after ransom
2005-04-10 unknown
not known US$315,000
MV Feisty Gas, a liquefied petroleum gas tanker, was seized by Somali pirates. A Hong Kong-based company that owns the vessel reportedly paid $315,000 to a representative of the Somali pirates in Mombasa, Kenya, according to a recent UN report.[10]
 Kenya MV Semlow
Released 2005-06-27 unknown
2005-10-03 US$50,000
MV Semlow, carrying UN food supplies for tsunami victims, was seized by pirates en route from Mombasa, Kenya to Bosasso, Somalia. They held the ship for 100 days until a Somali business man convinced them to leave without payment.[11]
( Ukraine)
MV Panagia
(bulk carrier)
22 all ukrainian
after ransom
2005-10-18 unknown
2005-11-25 US$700,000
MV Panagia, a 22b,046 GRT bulk carrier with coal from South Africa to Turkey, was seized by Somali pirates some 90 nautical miles (170 km) off the east coast. A Ukrainian-based company that owns the vessel reportedly paid $700,000 to a representative of the Somali pirates in Mombasa, Kenya.[citation needed]
Seabourn Spirit  Bahamas
( United States)
MV Seabourn Spirit
(cruise ship)
Capture failed 2005-11-05 unknown
Capture failed none
Seabourn Spirit, a luxury cruise ship carrying 210 crew members and passengers, was attacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia.[12] Riding in two small speedboats, the pirates fired at the ship with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, but the crew drove them off with a water hose and a long range acoustic device.[13]


Image Flag (owner) Name (class) Crew (cargo) Status Date of attack Coordinates
Date of release Ransom demanded
MV Safina al-Birsarat  India MV Safina al-Birsarat
Rescued by the United States Navy 2006-01-16 unknown
2006-01-22 none
Pirates hijacked the India-registered MV Safina al-Birsarat along with its crew of 16 Indians. On January 22, USS Winston S. Churchill, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, intercepted the vessel. After warning shots were fired, the pirates surrendered and all ten on board were taken into custody. The ten were transported to Mombasa, Kenya, where they were sentenced to seven years in prison by a court.[14][15][16]
USS Cape St. George
USS Gonzalez
 United States USS Cape St. George (CG-71)
(Ticonderoga-class cruiser)
USS Gonzalez (DDG-66)
(Arleigh Burke-class destroyer)
Attack failed, one pirate killed and twelve captured. 2006-03-18 unknown
N/A none
USS Cape St. George, a Ticonderoga-class cruiser, and USS Gonzalez, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, engaged pirate vessels after receiving fire from them.


Image Flag (owner) Name (class) Crew (cargo) Status Date of attack Coordinates
Date of release Ransom demanded
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines MV Rozen
(UN food aid)
Released 2007-02-25 11°50′0″N 51°35′0″E / 11.83333°N 51.58333°E / 11.83333; 51.58333 (2007-02-25, Ship: MV Rozen, 2007-02-25)
2007-04-05 unknown
Somali pirates with automatic weapons captured the ship, carrying six Kenyans and six Sri Lankans.[17] On February 27, members of the Somali coast guard attempted to take back the ship but failed, and two coast guardsmen were killed.
 Taiwan FV Ching Fong Hwa 168
(fishing vessel)
14 crew released, 1 crew member executed. 2007-04-28 unknown
2007-11-05 US$1,500,000
The Taiwanese fishing vessel was hijacked on May 28, 2007. The surviving crew of ten Chinese, two Taiwanese and two Filipino crew members was released on November 5 after spending more than six months in captivity. One Chinese crew member was killed by the pirates on May 28 because the ship's owners failed to meet their ransom demands.[18]
FV Mavuno No. 1 and FV Mavuno No. 2  Tanzania
( South Korea)
FV Mavuno No. 1
(fishing vessel)
FV Mavuno No. 2
(fishing vessel)
(Fishing equipment)
unknown 2007-05-15 1°10′0″N 49°0′0″E / 1.16667°N 49.00000°E / 1.16667; 49.00000 (2007-05-15, Ships: FV Mavuno No. 1, FV Mavuno No. 2, 2007-05-15)
2007-11-00 none
Two Tanzanian-registered ships belonging to Korea's Daechang Fishing were seized about 210 nautical miles (390 km) off the Somali capital of Mogadishu. Their 25 crew members (including ten Chinese, four South Koreans, three Vietnamese, four Indonesians and four Indians) were released six months later.[19]
 Denmark MV Danica White
(cargo ship)
after ransom
2007-06-01 unknown
2007-08-23 US$723,000 (negotiated down from $1.5 million)[20][21][22]
The Danish-owned cargo ship MV Danica White was hijacked and maneuvered into Somali waters. On June 3, USS Carter Hall, a Harpers Ferry-class landing ship dock engaged the pirates, firing machine-gun bursts at the skiffs in tow behind the Danish ship, but failed to stop them.[23] Following 83 days in captivity, the crew of five and the ship were released after the owner, H. Folmer & Co, paid a ransom of US$723,000, which was negotiated down from $1.5 million.[24][25]
 Greece FV Grecko 2
(fishing boat)
unknown 2007-09-20 unknown
not known unknown
FV Greko 2 was hijacked 110 nautical miles (200 km) west of Berbera. The vessel was anchored near Raas Shula, all crew removed from vessel.[26]
MV Golden Nori  Panama
( Japan)
MV Golden Nori
(chemical tanker)
(78,884 barrels)
after ransom
2007-10-28 13°5′0″N 50°24′0″E / 13.08333°N 50.40000°E / 13.08333; 50.40000 (2007-10-28, Ship: MV Golden Nori, 2007-10-28)
2007-12-12 US$1,000,000
A Japanese chemical tanker, MV Golden Nori was hijacked off the coast of Somalia. USS Porter, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, sank the skiffs used by the pirates, but they still controlled the tanker. US and German naval vessels shadowed the captured vessel and blockaded the port of Bosaso, where the captured tanker was taken. Eventually, after demanding a ransom, the pirates freed the ship and its crew of 21 on December 12.[27]
MV Al Marjan  Comoros MV Al Marjan
(General cargo ship)

(2,500 tons of general cargo)
after ransom
2007-10-17 unknown
2007-12-02 unknown
MV Al Marjan, owned by Biyat International, was travelling to Mombasa from Dubai when pirates hijacked it 10–20 nautical miles (19–37 km) from Mogadishu.[28]
MV Dai Hong Dan  North Korea MV Dai Hong Dan
(cargo ship)
Crew regained
2007-10-29 2°11′57″N 45°47′55″E / 2.19917°N 45.79861°E / 2.19917; 45.79861 (2007-10-29, Ship: MV Dai Hong Dan, 2007-10-29)
2007-10-30 none
Pirates attacked the North Korean cargo ship MV Dai Hong Dan and captured its bridge, while the crew managed to retain control of the steering and engineering spaces. On October 30, the crew regained control of their ship, killing one pirate and capturing six. Three sailors were injured in the fight, and received medical assistance from US Navy Corpman from the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS James E. Williams.[29]


Main article: List of ships attacked by Somali pirates in 2008


Main article: List of ships attacked by Somali pirates in 2009


Main article: List of ships attacked by Somali pirates in 2010


Main article: List of ships attacked by Somali pirates in 2011


Main article: List of ships attacked by Somali pirates in 2012


Image Flag (owner) Name (class) Crew (cargo) Status Date of attack Coordinates
Date of release Ransom demanded
 Hong Kong
( United Kingdom)
Island Splendor
(Oil tanker)

Attack failed. 2013-10-11 unknown
Attack failed. unknown
On 11 October at 0918 UTC, pirates in two skiffs fired upon the tanker Island Splendor and attempted a boarding approximately 237 nautical miles (439 km) east of Hobyo, Somalia. The armed security team aboard the tanker fired flares and warning shots, whereupon the pirates returned fire with an automatic weapons. The security team engaged the pirates which resulted in the skiffs aborting the attack.[30]
 Spain Unknown
(Fishing boat)

unknown 2013-10-14 unknown
unknown unknown
According to reports, a Spanish fishing boat was attacked on 14 October by what is suspected to be the same group of pirates who attempted to attack Island Splendor. The pirates were then traced and captured by the Australian warship HMAS Melbourne.[31]


Image Flag (owner) Name (class) Crew (cargo) Status Date of attack Coordinates
Date of release Ransom demanded
( United Arab Emirates)
Aris 13
(chemical tanker)
Released 2017-03-13 11°48′30.4914″N 43°15′7.596″E / 11.808469833°N 43.25211000°E / 11.808469833; 43.25211000 (2017-03-13, unknown)
2017-03-16 unknown (no ransom paid)
On 13 March 2017, Aris 13, was hijacked by pirates in two skiffs a few miles off Alula, the northernmost town of Somalia in Puntland. It was the first hijacking of a large commercial vessel since 2012. The ship was taking oil from Djibouti to the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Aris 13 was boarded by about two dozen armed men, who immediately turned off its tracking system after a distress call was sent from the ship. They then anchored her off Alula.[32][33][34][35] On 16 March an intense gunfight started between the pirates and the Puntland Maritime Police Force, followed by intense negotiations between the marine force, local clan elders and the pirates, effectively ending the hijacking later that day. The crew was released unharmed. The pirates allegedly agreed to forego a ransom after learning that Somali businessmen had hired Aris 13. Pirates have traditionally been wary of tangling with Somalia's powerful businessmen. The ship had not followed the industry's Best Management Practices that might have prevented a hijacking. It travelled close to the shore at low speed.[36][37]
( Japan)
OS 35
(Bulk carrier)
Released 2017-04-10 12°51′0″N 50°42′0″E / 12.85000°N 50.70000°E / 12.85000; 50.70000 (2017-04-10, Ship: MV OS 35, 2017-04-10)
2017-04-11 None
OS 35 was a loaded bulk carrier en route from Port Kelang to Aden with armed security guards on board. However, the latter and evasive maneuvers could not prevent three presumed Somali pirates from boarding and hijacking the ship. However, the security alert sent by the ship alerted Indian and Chinese navy ships patrolling in the vicinity, who then embarked on a joint rescue operation. 18 Chinese navy personnel subsequently boarded the hijacked ship under a security air cover provided by the Indian Navy, and rescued the hijacked ship.[38]


Image Flag (owner) Name (class) Crew (cargo) Status Date of attack Coordinates
Date of release Ransom demanded
 Singapore MT Leopard Sun
(Oil/Chemical tanker)
Attack failed 2018-10-30 unknown
N/A none
In February 2018 MT Leopard Sun was fired upon by two skiffs 160 nautical miles (300 km) off the coast of Somalia. The ship's security team returned fire and the ship escaped. This was believed to be the first pirate attack in the area since November 2017.[39]


Image Flag (owner) Name (class) Crew (cargo) Status Date of attack Coordinates
Date of release Ransom demanded
 Bangladesh MV Abdullah
(Container Ship)
(Container cargos)
Released after ransom 2024-3-12 unknown
2024-4-20 Unknown


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  3. ^ "Hijackings cut aid access to south Somalia, lives at risk". World Food Programme. Archived from the original on 2013-12-17. Retrieved 2015-01-25.
  4. ^ Anna, Bowden. "The Economic Cost of Somali Piracy 2011" (PDF). Oceans Beyond Piracy.
  5. ^ "The Advantage of Piracy". Retrieved 17 December 2011.
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  8. ^ Yanofsky, David (27 December 2013). "Somali piracy was reduced to zero this year". Quartz. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  9. ^ "Somali piracy is down 90 per cent from last year". The Journal. 15 December 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  10. ^ "Pirates: Somalia needs help". News 24 (South Africa). 2005-10-22. Archived from the original on 2008-09-30. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  11. ^ "Pirates hijack tsunami aid ship". BBC News. 30 June 2005. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  12. ^ Cherry, Matt; Moyer, Amanda (2005-11-06). "Cruise liner outruns armed pirate boats". CNN. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  13. ^ "'I beat pirates with a hose and sonic cannon'". BBC News. 2007-04-14. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  14. ^ "Suspected Pirates Captured Off Somali Coast". United States Navy. 2007-01-22. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
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  17. ^ Mwangura, Andrew (2007-03-24). "MV Rozen". ECOP-marine. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
  18. ^ Miriri, Duncan (2007-11-14). "TSomali pirates killed Chinese sailor-official". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-04-12.
  19. ^ "Crew of hijacked South Korean ships safe: official". People's Daily Online. 2007-05-17. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  20. ^ "DANICA WHITE Pirate attack and hijacking on 1 June 2007"
  21. ^ Danish Maritime Authority. 16 November 2007. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  22. ^ "Danica White hijacker among arrested pirates". Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  23. ^ Starr, Barbara (2007-06-06). "U.S. warship can't stop pirates off Somalia". CNN. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
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  27. ^ "Somali pirates leave Japan-owned ship, crew safe". Reuters. 2007-12-12. Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  28. ^ "Somali pirates hijack Japanese ship". Xinhua. 2007-10-29. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  29. ^ "Crew of North Korean Pirated Vessel Safe". U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. 2007-10-30. Archived from the original on 2008-03-12. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  30. ^ "Attempted Boarding by Somali Pirates". Naval Matters. 18 October 2013. Retrieved 22 Oct 2013.
  31. ^ "Suspected Somali pirates captured by Navy-led forces after attack on supertanker". The Independent. 21 October 2013. Retrieved 22 Oct 2013.
  32. ^ "Somali pirates suspected of hijacking ship after long layoff, expert says". Reuters. 14 March 2017. Retrieved 14 Mar 2017.
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  35. ^ "Somali pirates suspected of first ship hijacking since 2012". BBC News. 14 Mar 2017. Retrieved 14 Mar 2017.
  36. ^ See: Somali pirates release oil tanker and crew after first hijack for five years, The Guardian, 16 March 2017. Accessed on 21 March 2017.
  37. ^ See: Crew released without ransom after ship hijacked off Somalia, CNN, 17 March 2017. Accessed on 21 March 2017.
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  39. ^ Chemical tanker attacked off Somalia, pirates repelled: EU Naval force Reuters, 23 February 2018. Accessed on 15 March 2018