The arrest is the result of a joint undercover operation conducted by Belgian federal police and the special crime unit. Mohammed Abdi Hassan was enticed to come to Belgium in order to take part in the shooting of a film on the life of pirates on the high seas.
The suspect is thought to have been involved in the seizure of the Belgian vessel Pompei. At the time the Belgian dredging company Jan De Nul had to pay a considerable ransom to free ship and crew.
Speaking at a news conference in Bruges the federal public prosecutor Johan Delmulle said he was extremely pleased with the arrest: "These types of people are usually never caught, though they play an important role in ship seizures and get away with the largest part of the loot."
The daily De Standaard earlier reported that Hassan was detained after arriving here on a plane from Kenya. The suspect was taken to Bruges. The daily claims that he will now face charges relating to piracy on the high seas. The report says that a high-ranking Somali official was held at the same time. Hassan is believed to be on good terms with the Somali Government that stands accused of protecting him. He could go to gaol for up to 15 years for piracy and for 30 years for hostage taking. Hassan and his accomplice will also be charged with membership of a criminal organisation.