Ship hijacked off Yemen coast is freed

Maritime police are seen aboard oil tanker Aris-13, which was released by pirates, as it sails to dock on the shores of the Gulf of Aden in the city of Bosasso, northern Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland, in this March 19, 2017 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 10 April 2017
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Ship hijacked off Yemen coast is freed

MOGADISHU: A Lebanese registered ship hijacked off the coast of Somalia has been freed, said a shipping expert.
The pirates who boarded the ship on Saturday abandoned it on Sunday before naval forces rescued the ship, said Mohamed Abdirahman, former director of Puntland’s marine forces.
The pirates were unable to take the crew hostage because they locked themselves in a safe room said Abdirahman. No pirates were arrested and international naval forces are now escorting the ship, he said.
The ship hijacked off the coast of war-torn Yemen is a cargo vessel owned by a Lebanon-registered company, a UN agency confirmed on Sunday. The hijacking was the latest in a resurgence of piracy in the waters off Somalia and Yemen, one of the world’s crucial sea trade routes.
The OS 35, which can carry non-liquid cargoes like grain or iron ore, is registered by Oldstone Cargo Ltd, which lists its business address in Tripoli, Lebanon, said the International Maritime Organization. The OS 35 is Oldstone’s only ship registered with the UN. Oldstone could not be immediately reached for comment.
The pirates managed to board the ship on Saturday evening near Yemen’s Socotra Island despite resistance from the crew, said Somali pirate, Bile Hussein.
Somali pirates in recent weeks have hijacked at least two vessels with foreign crews in the waters off Somalia and Yemen, marking a return of the threat after five years.
In March, Somali pirates hijacked a Comoros-flagged oil tanker, marking the first such seizure of a large commercial vessel since 2012. They later released the vessel and its Sri Lankan crew without conditions.
Pirates later seized a fishing trawler, which Somali authorities warned could be used for further piracy.
Earlier this month, Somali pirates seized a small boat and its 11 Indian crew members as the vessel passed through the narrow channel between Socotra Island and Somalia’s coast.
Piracy off Somalia’s coast was once a serious threat to the global shipping industry. It has lessened in recent years after an international effort to patrol near the country, whose weak central government has been trying to assert itself after a quarter-century of conflict.
In December, NATO ended its anti-piracy mission off Somalia’s waters.
But frustrations have been rising among Somali fishermen, including former pirates, at what they say are foreign fishermen illegally fishing in local waters.


Moroccan police use water cannons to disperse teachers’ protest

Updated 46 min 24 sec ago
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Moroccan police use water cannons to disperse teachers’ protest

  • Authorities were trying to end a rally of an estimated 15,000 teachers in front of parliament
  • Teachers across the country have been striking for three weeks in a row

RABAT: Moroccan police used water cannons early on Sunday to disperse thousands of young teachers protesting in the capital Rabat for better work conditions, a witness said.
Authorities were trying to end a rally of an estimated 15,000 teachers in front of parliament where they planned to spend the night ahead of an even bigger demonstration called by a coalition of leftist opposition parties, unions and civil society groups.
Policemen in anti-riot gear moved into action after negotiations between officers and teachers to ask protesters to leave the area broke down after several hours.
Authorities had offered to send busses to drive them to places where they could spend the night, teachers said. They had been chanting “Liberty, dignity, social justice.”
There was no immediate comment from the police or the government.
Some teachers said they were protesting against contracts on which they have been hired. They are demanding full benefits and pensions like regular public servants.
Teachers across the country have been striking for three weeks in a row.
Of the country’s 240,000-strong teacher workforce, 55,000 have been hired since 2016 under a new contract system.
Morocco has come under pressure from international lenders to trim the civil service wage bill and strengthen the efficiency of the public sector.