Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Current Vessels Held by Pirates

As of 05. October 2010, 18h00 UTC, still at least 25 foreign vessels plus one barge are kept in Somali hands against the will of their owners, while at least 434 hostages - including an elderly British yachting couple and the 5 new hostages from Somaliland - suffer to be released.

MV SOCOTRA 1: Seized December 25. 2009. The vessel carrying a food cargo for a Yemeni businessman and bound for Socotra Archipelago was captured in the Gulf of Aden after it left Alshahir port in the eastern province of Hadramout. 6 crew members of Yemeni nationality were aboard. Latest information said the ship was commandeered onto the high seas between Oman and Pakistan, possibly in another piracy or smuggling mission. 2 of the original crew are reportedly on land in Puntland. VESSEL STILL MISSING and/or working as pirate ship.

FV AL-SHURA (AL-SHUVAL?): Seized after February 20, 2010 and most likely on 25th February with one of 9 the Yemeni sailors being killed by the Somali pirate-attackers. Allegedly the pirates now left the vessel and the dhow was returned to her owner, but independent confirmation is still awaited from Yemen. A similar dhow named AL-SHUVAL was said to have be moored off Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian ocean coast off Somalia until recently and is now observed at Dhanaane.

BB AL-NISR-AL-SAUDI: Seized on March 01, 2010. The relatively small bunker barge Al Nisr Al Saudi with a deadweight of 5,136 ton s was returning to Jeddah after delivering its cargo to Japan . The vessel therefore was empty when it was sea-jacked in the Gulf of Aden and in the vicinity of Aden port . The captain of the ship is Greek and the nationality of the 13 other crew is Sri Lankan. All crew is believed to be safe. The ship was not registered with maritime authorities and was outside the designated route that naval warships patrol. Communications between the pirates and the owner were established soon after the capture and contrary to many other vessels the families of the hostage-seafarers are very well taken care of, though the negotiations concerning the release of the vessel and crew were at first not forthcoming. The vessel then moved from Garacad and is currently held at Kulub, from where negotiations commenced again and are near to be concluded. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) had asked the ship owner to explain the prolonged difficulties being faced by the ship's crew in the light of complaints lodged by Sri Lankan and Greek authorities. Kamal Arri, manager of International Bunkering, the company which owns the Al Nisr Al Saudi ship, told a newspaper the insurance company had agreed to pay the ransom after the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) gave preliminary approval. "We are now waiting for the Interior Ministry's approval," he told Arab News on Monday, August 01, 2010. He had requested Second Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Prince Naif to intervene in the matter to win the release of the ship and crew as quickly as possible. He said the insurance company's refusal to provide fuel could lead to the ship drifting powerless and possibly being damaged or sunk. Arri told the paper his company had lost SR30m (US$8m) as a result of the hijack and that the insurance had agreed to pay the US$20m ransom, which sounded strange. But he later stated that he made a mistake while speaking to Arab News in how much ransom the pirates were demanding, saying: “I told the reporter that the sum was $20 million. In fact, this was the amount previously demanded by the pirates which was greatly reduced later,” said Kamal Arri, the owner of the Al-Nisr. “I am only concerned now with the safe return of all sailors on board. They were desperate. In my last telephone conversation with them yesterday (Monday 02. Aug.), the Greek captain complained that the pirates were making them sleep on deck while they were using the cabins and rooms themselves, and they have been physically beaten and tortured,” he said.

MV ICEBERG I: Seized March 29, 2010. The UAE-owned, Panama-flagged Ro-Ro vessel MV ICEBERG 1 with her 24 multinational crew members ( 9 Yemenis, 6 Indians, 4 from Ghana, 2 Sudanese, 2 Pakistani and 1 Filipino) was sea-jacked just 10nm outside Aden Port, Gulf of Aden. The vessel was mostly held off Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, while negotiations have not yet achieved a solution. The USS McFaul intercepted and identified the ship on 19th May 2010, despite the pirates having painted over her name and re-named the ship SEA EXPRESS, while the vessel was on a presumed piracy mission on the high-seas. Since about 50 pirates on the ship made any rescue operation impossible without endangering the 24 crew, the naval ship followed the commandeered vessel's movements for the next 36 hours, until it began to sail back towards the coast of Somalia. It has transpired that the shipping company Azal Shipping based in Dubai refuses to pay any ransom and the ship is apparently not insured, though it carries very valuable cargo and it seems that the British cargo owner is in charge of the negotiations. The sailors have no more food, water or medicine from their stores on board. While all the seafarers are starving, a few of them already are getting sick, though none of the sailors suffers from a serious health condition yet. First Officer Kumar, Chief Engineer Mohamed and Second Engineer Francis also stated that they urgently need Diesel for the electricity generators. The crew requested again humanitarian intervention as before and has now received some supplies through intervention by local elders and a humanitarian group. Recently negotiations for the release started in earnest, but have not been concluded, because the captors consider the offer of the shipowner as unrealistic. According to the Chinese state-media newswire XINHUA, the acting director at the ministry of foreign affairs in Accra (Ghana) Mr. Lawrence Sotah said the ministry, in response to a petition by a relative of one of the hostages, had commenced investigations, but reportedly stated also that their location and reasons for the kidnapping remained unknown. "We do not have any information as to what the pirates are demanding, because the owners of the ship or the pirates themselves have not put out any information which will be helpful for us to know exactly what they want," he said. "Ghana’s mission in Saudi Arabia has been contacted to assist, " Sotah said. He said the ministry was working with other international security organization to get to the bottom of what he termed the "alleged" kidnapping. One of the sailors from Ghana was able to speak to a journalist back home and stated on 22. September: “They have given us a 48 hour deadline that if we don’t come up with anything reasonable they will kill some of us and sink the vessel. I am appealing to the Ghanaian authority that they should do something to save our lives because our treatment here is inhuman”.The vessel is now very close to the shore of Garacad.

FV JIH-CHUN TSAI 68 (日春財68號) : Seized March 31, 2010. The Taiwan-flagged and -owned fishing vessel with factory facility was attacked together with sister-ship Jui Man Fa (瑞滿發) , which managed to escape. The vessels are operating out of the Seychelles and reportedly had been observed in Somali waters earlier. The crew of Jih-chun Tsai No. 68 consists of 14 sailors - a Taiwanese captain along with two Chinese and 11 Indonesian seamen. The vessel is now held at Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and at first negotiations faced serious communication problems, while later a conclusion allegedly was achieved. But the release could still not be effected, since the brokers as well as the pirate-group holding the vessel changed. Allegedly money was sent into the wrong hands and never reached those holding the vessel and the seafarers hostage. It was reported in the meantime that the Taiwanese captain had several times been beaten severely.

FV NN - IRANIAN FISHING VESSEL: Seized before April 02, 2010. The gang of sea-shifta, which had captured the Indian dhow MSV KRISHNA JYOT and ran out of fuel near Socotra, seized the Iranian fishing vessel and set the dhow free with her crew unharmed while going off with the Iranian fishing vessel. While the vessel had at first not come to any shore in Somalia and was believed to be used as piracy platform, some sources reported the vessel later from Kulub and now from Habo at the Gulf of Aden coast.

VLCC SAMHO DREAM: Seized April 02, 2010. The Marshall Islands-registered "Samho Dream", a 300,000t oil tanker owned by South Korea's Samho Shipping, was seized by three Somali pirates in waters some 1,500 km south-east of the Gulf of Aden at around 16:10 Seoul time (0710 GMT). There are a total of 24 crew members on board, including five South Koreans and 19 Filipinos. The 319,000 dwt very large crude carrier was on its way from Iraq to Louisiana of the United States. The Samho Dream, which was built in 2002, is carrying crude oil that could be worth as much as $170 million at current oil prices. The vessel had been commandeered to Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast and is now anchored 4.6nm off the beach. The South Korean government ordered their destroyer Chungmugong Yi Sun-shin out of the Somali waters and back to its working routine in the Gulf of Aden, but still there are two warships keeping a watch close by, staging mock attacks and caused tension on board, which made the pirates to issue a statement that they would blow up the oil-tanker if the harassment would not stop and no ransom would be paid. soon. Though negotiations with the owners are ongoing no conclusion has been reached. The vessel was moved from Hobyo, where she was held since her capture until the advancement of Al-Shabaab spearheaded Hizb-ul-Islam groups, to Garacad, but was returned to Hobyo. The pirates' demand has not been accepted by the company. Captain Kim Sung-kyu told Yonhap News in a phone call that the 24-member crew with five Koreans and 19 Filipinos is now living in sub-human conditions. Kim said the abuses are getting worse as the pirates deprive them of sleep and food and threaten to kill them one by one if a ransom is not paid. He also expressed frustration towards the Samho Shipping Company's silence over the pirates' latest demands, which were issued last Saturday (05. Sept. 2010). The vessel was held clearly visible off the coast off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast, when a group of international media representatives visited the coastal town in August. MT SAMHO DREAM left that anchorage area off Hobyo) in the morning hours on 14th of Sep 2010. The ship is still commandeered as one skiff has been sighted on board. At 0505Z she was heading eastward at 08/09 kts and was about 80nm east of Somali coast, NATO reported. The shipping community was warned that vessel might have been used either to investigate sea states or to conduct mothership operations in the vicinity of shipping lanes. The giant oil-tanker then was commandeered first to Garcad, and Negotiations have reportedly become extremely difficult. NATO also assesses that the pirated VLCC Samho Dream is currently conducting pirate mother ship operations near the shipping lanes, approximately 190 nm SE of Socotra Island (approximately 10 38N 056 44E), where the vessel is tracking eastbound. The Samho Dream is approximately 333 m long, with an orange hull and white superstructure. This vessel represents an active threat to merchant shipping and any small boat observed in the vicinity of the Samho Dream should be considered to be a potential pirate vessel.

MV RAK AFRIKANA: Seized April 11, 2010, the general cargo vessel (IMO 8200553) with a dead-weight of 7,561 tonnes (5992t gross) was captured at 06h32 approximately 280 nautical miles west of Seychelles and 480nm off Somalia in position 04:45S - 051:00E. The captured vessel flies a flag of convenience from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and has as registered owner RAK AFRICANA SHIPPING LTD based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and an offices in the Seychelles, while industry sources say the beneficial owner is from China. AL SINDBAD SHIPPING & MARINE from Ras al Khaimah (UAE) serves as manager. While China's Seafarers Union, based on an outdated ITF database, first spoke of 23 Chinese nationals as crew, the shipowner says there are 26 seamen from India, Pakistan and Tanzania on board. The actual crew-list has not been provided yet and the crew is not covered by an ITF agreement, but it could be established that the crew comprises of 11 Indians, including the captain, the second and third officer, as well as 10 Tanzanians and 5 Pakistanis. The vessel stopped briefly due to engine problems - around 280 nautical miles (520 kilometres) west of the Seychelles - but was then commandeered to Somalia and was held off Ceel Huur not far from Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean Coast, from where it was moved to Ga'an and further towards Hobyo, but then it was still held in the vicinity of Harardheere. When the pirates tried to leave the ;last time from that location they were pushed back by the navies to the shore and the vessel is now held near Xamdule (Hamdule is between Hobyo and Harardheere). The captors have forced the crew to fly the Italian flag, signalling the beneficial owner of the vessel. Negotiations have reportedly broken down because the interpreter is confused while not knowing if he is talking to the right people.

YEMENI FISHING VESSELS: Two Yemeni fishing vessels were seized by presumed Somali sea-gangs during the week 09th to 16th April in the Gulf of Aden. The Yemeni coastguard did not specify the name of the vessels and only reported in one case the crew as comprising of three Yemeni nationals. Recent reports that the dhows might have returned to Yemen were officially not yet confirmed.

THAI FISHING FLEET: Seized April 18, 2010 with a total crew of 77 sailors, of which 12 are Thai and the others of different nationalities, the Thailand-flagged vessels operating out of Djibouti were fishing illegal in the Indian Ocean off Minicoy Island in the fishing grounds of the Maldives. All three vessels were then commandeered towards the Somali coast by a group of in total around 15 Somalis.
FV PRANTALAY 11 with a crew of 26
FV PRANTALAY 12 with a crew of 25
FV PRANTALAY 14 with a crew of 26
None of these vessels is registered and authorized by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission to fish in the Indian Ocean.
The fleet is now held off the coast at Kulub near Garacad (06 59N 049 24E) at the north-eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. The captors already threatened since months to use one of the hunter-vessels of the group as a piracy-launch, while negotiations have not been forthcoming. Prantalay 14 left the coast in the morning of 20. September to what is said to be another piracy expedition. Three skiffs, three ladders and other equipment were observed to be on board. The vessel has been further observed on 28. September near the shipping lanes in the area. On 30. September at 10h15 UTC a Pirate Action Group consisting of one skiffs with ladders and weapons was reported in position 07 34 N 057 39 E, which is assessed to be connected to an operation of this fishing vessel as Mother Ship - reported in position 06 47 N 060 51 E.

MV VOC DAISY: Seized in the morning of April 21, 2010, the Panama-flagged, Liberian-owned bulk carrier of 47,183 dead-weight tonnes, was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, 190 nautical miles East South East of Salalah, Oman. The bulker was registered with the Maritime Security Centre Horn Of Africa (MSCHOA) and heading west from Ruwais, U.A.E, making for the eastern rendezvous point of the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), for onward transit through the Suez Canal. She was 280 miles from the IRTC when she was sea-jacked. The vessel is owned by Middleburg Properties Ltd, Liberia, and operated by the Greek company Samartzis Maritime Enterprises. The 21 men all-Filipino crew was able to raise the alarm before the four armed pirates, carrying three AK47s and one RPG, stormed onboard and cut their lines of communication. The crew is, however, said to be all right, given the circumstances. The vessel is now held off Kulub near Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. Negotiations difficult.

FV TAI YUAN 227: Seized on May 06, 2010 in an area north off the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Seychelles as it headed for the Maldives , the Taiwanese fishing boat has a crew of 28 (9 Chinese, 3 Vietnamese, 3 Filipinos, 7 Kenyans and 2 from Mozambique) . Taiwan's foreign ministry confirmed that the vessel had been seized after the Taipei Rescue Command Centre reported the incident to have taken place in approximate position 0105N-06750E . The ministry added that contact was made o n Friday with the pirates who made an unspecified ransom demand, while the vessel is heading towards the Somali coast . The vessel has no authorization by the Indian Ocean Commission to fish in the Indian Ocean, which, however, is partly explained by the fact that China is opposed to Taiwan as flag state. Due to the inaction of the ship-owner and the Taiwan government to free the vessel, it was used again as launch for further piracy attacks. Vessel and crew was held off Habo at the Puntland coast of the Gulf of Aden but now the Taiwanese fishing vessel is said by NATO to remain unlocated. It has the potential to conduct pirate operations far out. The Tai Yuan 227 is a white hulled fishing vessel, approximately 50 metres long, with the registration numbers BH3Z87 painted in large black letters on the hull.

FV AL-DHAFIR: Seized on May 07, 2010 off the coast of Yemen the Yemen coastguard of the Arabian peninsular state reported. Yemen's Defence Ministry confirmed that the 7 Yemeni nationals on board were abducted to Somalia. Yemen's coastguard said Somali pirates captured the fishing vessel, while it was docked at a Yemeni island in the Red Sea and had taken it to Somalia. The coastguard was continuing its efforts to retrieve the boat, the Defence Ministry said, but meanwhile the dhow is said to be held at the Somali shore close to Eyl.

MT MARIDA MARGUERITE: Seized May 08, 2010, around120nm south of the Omani port of Salalah in the protected shipping corridor, the German owner-managed, US-owner-registered chemical tanker of 13.273 dwt has a crew of 22 seamen, including 19 Indians, two Bangladeshi and one Ukrainian. The vessel is flying a flag of convenience (FOC) from the Marshall Islands . The tanker was held at the north-eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast near Garacad but then changed position to a location off the Gulf of Aden Coast near Habo. Negotiations have not been forthcoming and the vessel was mid August commandeered southwards to Hobyo in a possible move to provide cover for the release of the Korean supertanker held there, but has been commandeered back northwards too, when the oil-tanker left from Hobyo.

MV ELENI P: Seized in the morning of May 12, 2010, the Greek-owned, Liberia-flagged 72,100 dwt bulker was sea-jacked around 380 nm south-east of Salalah (Oman) in position 15°55N / 060°50E. The 23 crew comprises of 19 Filipinos, 2 Greek and one Ukrainian sailor, who are said to be unharmed. Reports say that the vessel - then sailing under another name as SEAHORSE - had been attacked already before on April 09, 2009. The vessel is held near Garacad at the north-eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast.

MT GOLDEN BLESSING: Seized in the morning at 03h27 UTC (06h27 loc al time) of June 28, 2010, the Singapore flagged, Chinese-managed 14,300 DWT chemical tanker GOLDEN BLESSING (IMO number 9539016) was plying the waters inside the Internationally Recognized Transit Corridor (IRTC) on her way from Saudi Arabia to India, when the 19 men strong all Chinese crew was overwhelmed at position Latitude: 13°23.7N Longitude: 049°58E and taken hostage in the view of a helicopter from a nearby naval vessel. Singapore's Maritime Port Authority (MPA) confirmed the sea-jacking of the Singapore-registered ship. The 2010-built Handy tanker was then commandeered by its Somali captors to the Somali Indian Ocean coast, where it stopped at Bargaal, but was later taken back into the Gulf of Aden, where it is held near MT MOTIVATOR at the northern Puntland shores off Habo (Xabo). The China-owned tanker carries as cargo around 15,000 m³ of highly toxic ethylene glycol - a poisonous chemical used in antifreeze, in her 10 separated tanks, which are MARPOL certified. Mr. Li Jingzhong, spokesman of the charterer company SHANGHAI DINGHENG SHIPPING CO, was able to contact the captain of the ship and could establish that the crew is safe. Vessel and crew are not covered by an ITF agreement. After first contacts for negotiations concerning the release had been made by the owner-managers Advance Shipping for registered owner GOLDEN PACIFIC INTL & HOLDINGS, the mediation progressed positively.

MT MOTIVATOR: At 09h44 UTC (12h44 local time) on 4 July, the tanker's captain reported they were under small arms fire from a pirate attack in position 13°16N / 042°56E in the northern Bab Al Mandeb area - around 50nm north of the Bab al-Mandeb and approximately 18nm west of Mokha, Yemen while travellin g south when she was attacked by two small vessels in the southern Red Sea. After the initial notification of this attack, unsuccessful attempts were made to contact the Greek-owned vessel. The capture then was confirmed early on 5. July at Latitude: 11°33N, Longitude: 045°28E in the Gulf of Aden. Position 11 ° 50 / 45 ° 00 is Point A of the internationally protected maritime shipping corridor through the Gulf of Aden, called the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). The MT MOTIVATOR, with a dead-weight of 13,065 tonnes has a crew of 18 Filipino nationals on board, though the Philippine government had ruled out that Pinoy crews could be allowed to sail these dangerous waters through the Gulf of Aden. The sea-jacked ship is a Marshall Islands flagged chemical products tanker loaded with lubrication-oil and therefore is posing the potential danger of an oil-spill. While at least one foreign warship intercepted the captured merchant-vessel's path towards the Somali coast and shadowed the situation, it has become clear that the pirate group hails from Puntland. The commandeered vessel stopped briefly north of Puntland and intended to proceed towards the pirate stronghold of Garacad, but it is held now close to Xabo at the Gulf of Aden coast due to a dispute between the captors from Puntland and other pirate groups at Garacad. Xabo (Habo) became infamous for the holding of two tugboats and their crews for over a year. The 18 Filipino seafarers on board the MT MOTIVATOR are all accounted for and safe, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said. Philippine's executive director Enrico Fos of the DFA’s Office of the Under-secretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA) said the seafarers were able to communicate with their families to let them know that all crew is well. “The pirates have also already called the ship’s principal, but no demands have yet been made," he added.

MV SUEZ: In the early hours at 0420 UTC of AUG 02, 2010, the MV SUEZ (IMO number 8218720) reported being under small arms fire from a pirate attack by one of 3 skiffs in position 13 02N - 048 54E and minutes later the Indian captain reported pirates on board.
After notification of the attack, attempts were made by the navies, who are supposed to protect the area, to make contact with the MV SUEZ, but to no avail. Egyptian-owned MV SUEZ was travelling under flag of convenience from Panama in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) when attacked. Immediately after the first report a helicopter was directed to the ship but pirates had already taken over the command of the vessel, EU NAVFOR reported.
Two NATO warships, HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën and USS Cole, from the NATO counter piracy task force undertaking Operation OCEAN SHIELD, and a Singaporean warship the RSS Endurance from the CMF taskforce were within forty miles of MV Suez at the time of the attack. Despite reacting immediately and having a helicopter on the scene within 10 minutes, naval forces were unable to prevent the attack as the pirates had been able to board the ship within 5 minutes, NATO reported.
The case actually shows that though the ship was reportedly employing Best Management Practices, having barbed wire in place and fire hoses ready, the waters off Yemen and opposite Puntland are the most dangerous in the whole area. Somali sea-shifta are able to outwit and overcome any preventive measures - including arms on board, which only would drive the casualty figures higher. The incident actually highlights once again that it is high time to follow the advice to engage and help local Somali communities along the two coasts to make their coastlines safer themselves and to empower them to rule out the holding of any hostage from these innocent merchant vessels.
The MV SUEZ, with a deadweight of 17, 300 tonnes, has a crew of 24, according to NATO, while EU Navfor said 23 and the last crew-list: showed 21 with 9 Egyptians, 7 Pakistani, 3 Indians and 2 Sri Lankans. It could be confirmed in the meantime that the 23 men crew consists of 11 Egyptians, 6 Indians, 4 Pakistani and 2 Sri Lankans. Crew and shipowner do not have an ITF Approved CBA agreement and - due to overdue survey - the ship's classification status had been withdrawn by Germanischer Lloyd since 28. 06. 2010. The detailed, actual crew list is awaited. RED SEA NAVIGATION CO. serves as ship manager for owner MATSO SHIPPING CO. INC. - both from Port Tawfiq in Egypt. Red Sea Navigation's commercial director Mohamed Abdel Meguid said his company already paid a US$1.5 million ransom last year (actually it was the year before) for another hostage ship, the MV MANSOURAH 1 (aka Al Mansourah), which was sea-jacked on 03. September 2008 and released against the ransom after only 23 days. As DPA reported from Cairo a day later, an official with Red Sea Navigation Company, who declined to be identified publicly, said that the company would not pay a ransom and that the matter was being handled by the Foreign Ministry in Cairo.
MV SUEZ, the merchant vessel with a cargo of cement bags destined for Eritrea, was then commandeered towards the north-eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and was expected at the pirate lair of Garacad in Puntland, but there pirate groups are fighting among each other and have come recently under pressure from Puntland forces. The vessel therefore dropped at first anchor near Bargaal and then was commandeered back again to the Gulf of Aden coast of Puntland, where it was held close to Bolimoog, between Alula and Habo at the very northern tip of the Horn of Africa. Thereafter the ship was moved again to the Indian Ocean coast near Dinowda Qorioweyn.
"The pirates are treating us toughly, and they took some of the crew to unknown place to exert pressure on owners of the ship," Farida Farouqe quoted her husband as telling her over the phone, as Xinhua news agency reported. The alleged demands vary between one, four and six million dollars, while officially the ship owner has been reported as saying already earlier that no ransom will be paid, while the cargo-owners seem to have been negotiating.

YEMENI FISHING VESSEL: Seized August 26, 2001. The earlier reports provided by maritime observers speaking of the capture of a fishing vessel were confirmed now to the extend that the type and flag of the vessel have been identified. A Yemeni fishing vessel with at least 10 sailors on board was seized in the territorial waters of Somalia. The name of the vessel and Yemeni registration is not yet known. The Yemeni boat was sailing near the north coast of Somalia when the captors attacked it with small skiffs. They later headed toward the Somali coast.

MV OLIB G: Seized September 08, 2010. Reports from our local observers were confirmed by EU NAVFOR: Early on the morning of 8 September, the Malta-flagged Merchant Vessel (MV) OLIB G (IMO 8026608) - a Greek-owned chemical tanker - was pirated in the east part of the protected Gulf of Aden corridor. After having received a report from a merchant vessel that a skiff was approaching MV OLIB G, and after several unsuccessful attempts to make contact with the vessel, the USS PRINCETON warship of Task Force 151 launched its helicopter. The helicopter was able to identify two pirates on board MV OLIB G, the EU report stated. The MV OLIB G was sailing West in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor en route from Alexandria to India through the Gulf of Aden - allegedly carrying only ballast. The Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) is an area in which EU NAVFOR (Task Force 465), NATO (Task Force 508) and Combined Maritime Force (Task Force 151) coordinate the patrol of maritime transits. It is, however, not known yet if the vessel was involved in dumping or why it was just sailing with ballast. The MV OLIB G, deadweight 6,375 tons, has a crew of 18, among which are 15 Georgian and 3 Turkish. Crew and vessel are not covered by ITF Agreement. The vessel has as registered owners FRIO MARITIME SA and as manager FRIO VENTURES SA, both of Athens in Greece. The attack group is said to consist of people from the Majerteen (Puntland) and Warsangeli (Sanaag) clans, who had set out from Elayo. After the well timed attack - more or less synchronized with attacks on two other vessels - and the subsequent overpowering of the crew the vessel was then commandeered towards the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, where it is now held near Eyl. The owner of the vessel initially offered a ransom of $75,000, but later raised it to $150,000. However, the sea pirates want no less than $15 million, a Press TV correspondent reported.

NASTA AL YEMEN: Reportedly seized on Sept. 14, 2010. Number of crew yet unknown, but presumed 9. Further report awaited from Yemen.

HOSTAGES TAKEN: On Sept. 28, 2010, five employees of NATIONLINK, a telecommunications provider, were hi-jacked at gunpoint from their offices in Lasqorey, the coastal town of Warsangeliland (Sanaag Region) in Central Northern Somalia. The five Somali men are now held hostage by relatives of a pirate gang and demands have been made to free 8 jailed pirates from Mandheera prison in Somaliland.
Similar demands had been made with the hi-jacking of Somaliland lorries and their drivers earlier.
The prisoners were seized in Maydh by the Somaliland coast guards, who accused them of being sea pirates. The regional court of Sanaag Region sentenced them to 11 year imprisonment and transferred them to Somaliland.
The Police Commissioner of Somaliland stated “The Police was not aware when the nation Link staff went to Lasqorey and they even did not inform the Police commander in Cerigavo. Now we contacted traditional leaders in Lasqorey, from whose clan the kidnappers hail. At the same time we beefed up security."

MT ASPHALT VENTURE: Seized September 28, 2010 the Panama-flagged was captured on her way from Mombasa - where the vessel left at noon on 27. September, southbound to Durban, at 20h06 UTC = 23h06 local time local time in position 07 09 S 40 59 E. The vessel was sailing in ballast and a second alarm was received at 00h58 UTC = 03h58. The ship with its 15 all Indian crew was then observed to have turned around and is at present commandeered northwards to Somalia. EU NAVFOR confirmed the case only in the late afternoon of 29. September. Information from the ground says a pirate group from Brava had captured the vessel and at first it was reported that the vessel was heading towards Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast, while now it seems that thee tanker will have first contact on the Somali coast near Hobyo. The vessel is managed by ISM manager OMCI SHIPMANAGEMENT PVT LTD from Mumbai and owned by BITUMEN INVEST AS from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, who uses INTER GLOBAL SHIPPING LTD from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates as ship-handler. The Government of India and other authorities are informed. The condition of the crew could not yet fully be established, but so far no casualties or injuries are reported.


1 comment:

  1. Excellent updates boss, and very good drill