A maritime alert has been issued advising that risks to hostages being held in Somalia may increase following the US Navy SEAL rescue of two western NGO staff held in Higlale, around 100km southwest of Galkayo on 24 January. The hostages were rescued unharmed, but the operation reportedly involved an exchange of fire in which eight pirates were killed. Other rescue attempts have seen hostages injured and killed in recent years. Pirates and criminals holding crew members and other aid workers and tourists in the country are likely to respond with increased vigilance, and may threaten increased violence towards hostages to deter future military rescue attempts. The rescue coincided with reports that another hostage, the captain of a Taiwanese fishing vessel, had his arm amputated by his captors following continued refusal of ransom payment by the vessel’s owners. The incident demonstrates that pirates will follow through on threats of increased violence towards hostages; operators should have crisis management and contingency plans in place to ensure negotiations proceed smoothly in case of a hijacking or kidnapping, thereby reducing the risks to hostages to ensure their safe release.