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Piracy reaches the Maldives

By Sue Richards last modified Apr 02, 2012 10:34 AM

Published: 2012-04-02 10:34:55
Topics: Piracy & Security
Countries: Maldives , Sri Lanka , India

The hijack of a ship by Somali pirates in the waters of the Maldives may in future keep cruising yachts away from the idyllic necklace of atolls in the central Indian Ocean. Up until now, the Maldives has been a popular stopping place on the way across the Indian Ocean, whether the yachts are headed for the Red Sea or for Africa.

With no yachts expected to venture via the Red Sea, the Maldives has still been a good rest point and offered an interesting stay for passing yachts on their way to the longer route around Africa - but maybe no more.

In an alarming expansion of the zone known to be frequented by pirates, the Bolivian-flagged vessel the MV Eglantine, with 23 crew members on board, was hijacked this week a mere 190 nautical miles north west of Hoarafushi Island in the Haa Alif Atoll.

This information has been confirmed by Major Abdul Raheem, spokesperson for the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).


Although acts of piracy have been reported near the Maldives Exclusive Economic Zone, last Monday’s attack was the first to occur in Maldivian waters. Experts cited in Maldivian reports said that increased patrols by international naval vessels, coupled with the increasing use of armed guards aboard vessels, forced pirates deeper into the Indian Ocean to find targets.

The Maldives is located about 1,700 nautical miles from Somalia.