Garowe Online (Garowe)

Somalia: North Korea-Flagged Ship Returning to Bossaso Port

Bossaso, Somalia — An impounded North Korean ship captured dumping cement into Puntland waters last month, was hijacked and is heading back to Bossaso port, Garowe Online reports.

Security forces guarding the North Korean-flagged vessel MV Daesan impounded on Nov. 17, 2012, at the Bossaso port were involved in the hijacking of the ship and the crew on the vessel late Tuesday night.

According to local sources, after a work shift change a team of 8 soldiers decided to hijack the ship and its crew of 33. After hijacking the ship and traveling for some hours and faced incidents the hijackers argued amongst themselves because some members argued over their decision.

The sources said that after the sequence of extraordinary events some of the men regretted the hijacking.

Continuing, the sources said that after heated debates and negotiations done by Puntland authorities, the rogue security forces decided to return the ship to Puntland authorities and contacted Puntland security officials of their decision.

Puntland security officials told GO, that there are two Puntland coast guard boats chaperoning the MV Daesan back into Puntland waters where the case over the dumping of cement is still ongoing at the local court.

Puntland authorities caught the MV Daesan while it was dumping 5,000 metric tons of cement 13 nautical miles east of Bossaso coast. According to authorities the ship is expected at Bossaso port Thursday morning and the case will continue in court.

Puntland authorities told GO that they are conducting an investigation of the hijacking Tuesday night and there are leads that suggest Somali pirates were involved in the attempted hijacking.

Puntland officials have also been engaged in a standoff with pirates off the coast of Gara'ad town in Mudug region since Dec. 10. Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF) attempted to rescue the 22 hostages of the MV Iceberg 1 vessel last week and Puntland forces have enforced a blockade on the ship.

According to Puntland security sources, the MV Daesan hijacking was a diversion plot by Somali pirates to ease pressure off the MV Iceberg 1 vessel, which remains under a blockade for the past 10 days.

Piracy off the coast of Somalia has hit its lowest level in recent years for 2012. Outgoing NATO Commander of the Ocean Shield anti-piracy force stated this week that although pirate attacks have plunged that the pressure should not be let up.

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