The alleged abduction by Somali pirates of a Danish family who set sail from the Maldives last month on their yacht is not thought to have occurred within the country’s territorial waters, defense officials have confirmed.
Denmark-based newspaper the Copenhagen Post today reported that seven Danish nationals – thought to include a family of five and two deckhands – were confirmed by the country’s Foreign Ministry to have been abducted on their way to the Red Sea by Somali pirates.
The Danish Foreign Ministry said it was unable to comment on the reports or clarify whether the alleged attack took place 300 kilometres off the coast of Somalia When contacted by Minivan News.
Major Abdul Raheem of the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) was nonetheless able to confirm that security officials in the country had not received any information concerning the kidnappings or any other kind of “terrorist activities” occurring within the territorial waters of the Maldives of late.
Raheem added that security services in the Maldives would not be reviewing maritime security measures or advice when sailing in and out of the country following the alleged kidnappings.
Experts suggest that a growing number of Somali pirates are moving deeper into the Indian Ocean as they come under increased pressure from international task-forces designed to try and limit piracy attacks around the horn of Africa. As a result of this movement, maritime security has become a notable security concern for the Maldives.
In December, a Minivan News investigation reported that although there had been no confirmed attacks or incidents of piracy in the Maldives, maritime protection groups and European security officials still believed the country has the potential to become a target for pirate vessels thought to have originated from Somalia.
However, despite the abducted party having reportedly set off from the Maldives in a 43-foot long yacht called ING around the middle of last month, Major Raheem said that the MNDF had not been provided with any information of the kidnappings or been asked as yet to assist within any potential investigation into the alleged attacks.
Both the Maldives Police Force and the President’s Office were unable to comment on the issue at the time of going to press.
According to the Copenhagen Post report, the eldest 17 year-old son of the kidnapped family wrote on a blog that their vessel was halfway between the Maldives and the Arabian Sea by Tuesday of last week (22 February) and there had been no problems during the voyage.
However, by the following morning, the paper claimed that the ship’s occupants had managed to issue an emergency call as they came under attack from suspected pirates. The Danish warship “Esbern Snare” is reported to have been sent to the area where they are thought to have gone missing.