ScanEagle Assists in Response to Hijack of M/V Ruen
Original story from EUNAVFOR.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE HIJACK INCIDENT INVOLVING THE MALTESE FLAGGED MERCHANT VESSEL RUEN
Rota, 19 December 2023 – The European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) continues monitoring closely the situation of the hijack of the Maltese-flagged merchant vessel RUEN in close cooperation with Somali local authorities. The current location of the ship is between Eyl and Xaafun peninsula (Somalia). Demands by the hijackers remain unknown.
The MV RUEN, which left the port of Gwangyang (South Korea) with a cargo of metals, was hijacked on the morning of the 14th, as confirmed by its captain, and by the alert that was sent to the Operation ATALANTA’s Joint Operation Centre. Right after, the EUNAVFOR Flagship ESPS VICTORIA was directed to rapidly close to the RUEN to gather more information and evaluate further actions, in coordination with the Somali local authorities and other security partners in the region.
During the early hours of the 15th, an Indian maritime patrol plane spotted the merchant ship, establishing radio communications with the crew. According to the information received, the 18 crewmembers were fine, locked up in the citadel. Hours later, the pirates managed to break into the citadel and extracted the crew.
In the early hours of the 16th, the Japanese Navy ship AKEBONO, under the Combined Maritime Forces (Combined Task Force 151) command, and the Indian Navy ship KOCHI arrived in the vicinity of the hijacked ship, joining ESPS VICTORIA. Since then, continuous exchanges of information and coordination efforts have been performed regularly. Key to situational awareness has been the EUNAVFOR UAV, SCAN EAGLE, based on ESPS VICTORIA, which continues to punctually collect data from the merchant vessel.
In the early morning of the 18th, a member of the crew of the MV RUEN has been evacuated to the INS KOCHI, for medical care. The medical team on board the ESPS VICTORIA remains available, in case its support will be necessary.
The ESPS VICTORIA, which has been able to continuously tracking the MV RUEN, even inside the Somalia Territorial Waters, thanks to an ad-hoc permission granted by the Federal Government of Somalia, has temporarily left the area for logistic reasons, in the afternoon of Tuesday 19th.
Currently, the coordination among partners, including the Somali local authorities, is smooth and efficient, and it keeps the merchant ship continuously monitored.
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