Somali pirates attempted to hijack the bulk carrier KSL Sydney 630 km (390 mi) off the coast of Somalia on Tuesday, October 16. The Sydney's security team engaged the attackers in a "sustained exchange of fire," according to the EU Naval Force operating in the region (EUNAVFOR). The pirates eventually retreated. All crew members are reportedly safe.
The October 16 incident was the first hijacking of a commercial ship by Somali pirates since February 2018. The risk of maritime piracy along the Somali coast, which spans 1000 km (620 mi) from the Gulf of Aden to the Indian Ocean, remains a concern despite having significantly reduced thanks to a major international fleet deployed in the area (Operation Atalanta). In 2017, there was a resurgence of piracy acts with seven attacks reported. According to the International Maritime Bureau, pirates reportedly launched 237 attacks off the coast of Somalia in 2011 and held hundreds of hostages.
Pleasure boating is strongly discouraged along the Somali coast, from the Gulf of Aden to the Indian Ocean. Ship captains are required to declare their movements in advance to the European Union's Operation Atalanta and the French Contrôle Naval Volontaire, present in the Indian Ocean.
On a separate note, Western governments generally advise their citizens against all travel to Somalia due to extremely poor security conditions; professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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