Somali pirates have attempted two attacks at the farthest point south so far on the East African coast, closely approaching South Africa. The attacks are reported to have taken place north of the Mozambican city of Beira.
South Africa’s Mail and Guardian newspaper reported the attacks on NS Africa and the bulk carrier Majestic failed due to their following “Best Management Practices”, this is nonetheless the farthest the pirates have gone down the African coast.
The M&G quoted Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa) spokesperson Wing Commander Paddy O'Kennedy:
"Those vessels were attacked on the 24th and 25th respectively they were attacked 19 degrees south [of the equator]. That is well south of the normal areas we work."
"We believe they were attacked by the same pirate action group."
The so-called “Pirate Action Group” was reportedly made up of two small boats carrying six alleged pirates.
O’Kennedy said the ships had not registered with any of the authorities managing anti-piracy operations, which delayed the reports of the attacks.
Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world and does not have an offshore naval patrol capability to protect its 2,470 kilometres (about 1,750 miles) of coastline. However, it is part of the African Union (AU) and the regional grouping of the Southern African Development Conference (SADC). The country also has a Joint Commission on Defence and Security with the neighbouring power, South Africa.
The news broke too late to contact authorities in South Africa or Mozambique as to what steps the might take.