A senior UN envoy for Somalia on Thursday condemned the hijacking of a Pakistani fishing vessel off the coast of Somalia.
Nicholas Kay, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, expressed concern about piracy in the region that was recently on the rise after being curbed in the past three years.
“With the recent rise in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in Somali territorial waters, I am deeply concerned that Somalia could be facing a resurgence of piracy,” Kay said, condemning “in the strongest terms” the crimes.
He said the rising piracy could erode the progress made in Somalia’s rebound from two decades of civil conflicts.
But meanwhile, Kay said: “while condemning these criminal acts, I urge all fishing vessels to obey the (Somali) federal government’s fisheries law and fully respect the Exclusive Economic Zone of Somalia.”
An Iranian-flagged Pakistani fishing vessel with 15 crew members on board, was attacked and seized by pirates off the coast of central Somalia last Sunday.
The hijacked ship was forced to sail towards a pirate enclave near El Hur.
Ships and their crew are mostly held for ransom by Somali pirates.
It is the third piracy incident in the region in recent months, but there have been several attack attempts by pirates over the last two weeks.
Piracy in the region was at its worst in 2011 when hundreds of people were taken hostage.
It has been curtailed since then due to effective deterrence by international naval forces and armed security guards on board merchant ships.
Some fishing communities in Somalia complain that foreign fishing boats threaten their livelihood.