The UN Panel of Experts on Somalia, which monitors illegal arms, said they are looking into a Turkish ship that was moored off a part of the Somali coastline controlled by the al-Shabab terrorist organization in August 2021.
The Anatolian, owned and operated by Mavi Deniz Taşımacılığı ve Sanayi Ticaret Limited Şirketi, an Istanbul-based company, remained stationary for about 24 hours less than 1,000 meters off the Somali coast in an area controlled by al-Shabab, according to vessel’s automatic identification system (AIS).
“That area is not patrolled by Somali security forces and Al-Shabaab has a stronghold 30 kilometres inland in a locality named Ali Gaudud (coordinates: 3°10’42″N, 46°26’9″E),” the UN investigators concluded. It appears that suspicions were raised about why the ship remained so close to the al-Shabab area and if it was delivering supplies or arms to the group.
The shipowners said they were victims of an attack by a skiff off the coast of Somalia on August 13, 2021 and that according to the captain, the ship was fired on with RPGs and small arms.
Apparently not fully convinced of the story, the UN investigators sent an official letter to the Turkish company asking for clarification about why the ship sailed to waters close to the al-Shabab area and asked for detailed information on the circumstances of the attack.
The company had not responded to the UN inquiries by the time the report was submitted to the UN Security Council, on October 6, 2021.
The Turkish government did not comment on the incident, either. The navigation chart shows that it departed Fethiye in Turkey’s southern province of Antalya and stayed close to the al-Shabab area from August 12 to 13, 2021.