Bruges Criminal Court sentenced, in absentia, the so-called King of Somalian pirates Mohamed Abdi Hassan (aged 58) to 20 years in prison, for hijacking the MV Pompei Belgian dredger in 2009. His accomplice Mohamed Moalin-Aden (aged 44) received a 5-year sentence for his role in the criminal gang, but was acquitted of hijacking the boat.
On 18 April 2009, the MV Pompei was situated off Somalia, when en route to South Africa to complete dredging work. The 10 members of the team were held hostage for more than 70 days by Somalian pirates. The latter succeeded in obtaining a ransom of around two million euros.
Mohamed Abdi Hassan was adjudged by the Prosecutor’s Office as the ringleader of the hostage-taking. In October 2013, investigators triumphed when succeeding in getting him to come to Belgium through a fictitious film project on piracy. He was arrested immediately upon arrival in Zaventem with Mohamed Moalin-Aden, the governor of an autonomous Somalian region.