Wednesday, November 17, 2010

British Anti-Piracy Command Threatened with Closure

As Reported HERE

British antipiracy command post threatened with closure

A British military command post running naval operations against Somali pirates is threatened with closure under cost-cutting plans, The Daily Telegraph has learned. 

The threat to the Nato unit at Britain's Permanent Joint Headquarters has emerged only days after the release of Paul and Rachel Chandler, a British couple kidnapped by Somali pirates off the Horn of Africa last year.
British defence sources have revealed that senior officers are "seriously worried" about the prospect of closing the Nato station.
Following defence cuts in Britain and other countries, David Cameron is expected to push for cuts in alliance spending and bureaucracy at a summit of Nato leaders in Lisbon this weekend.

Nato has promised to "cut fat" from its command structure, which is overburdened with multiple headquarters and other command centres.
Final decisions on plans to reduce the number of military headquarters, and cut command staff from 13,000 to 9,000 will be announced next year.
The cuts will end the duplication of many Nato command structures, where multiple HQs oversee the same operations. Host countries are fighting strongly to defend their Nato posts.
Alliance naval operations against pirates off Somalia are effectively run by two command centres, one in Britain and one in Portugal.
Portugal is lobbying strongly to defend Joint Force Command Lisbon, which has "overall command" of Nato's Operation Ocean Shield.
Portugal has argued that cutting a command unit from the host city of this year's Nato summit would be a political and public relations mistake. It has threatened to veto any cut.

British officials fear that the US has now accepted the Portuguese argument that the Lisbon HQ should survive. That has raised fears that a British headquarters will now be cut instead.

The Allied Maritime Component Command Headquarters based at Northwood, Middlesex, has "operational command" over the antipiracy operations, but is subordinate to the Lisbon HQ.

A senior British defence source said the prospect of closing the Northwood HQ had caused deep anxiety among British officers.
The source said: "It looks as if the Americans will go with the Portuguese, which is bad news for us. There are a lot of seriously worried people at Northwood." British sources said the summit would decide the broad outline of the alliance's new command structure but said final decisions on individual posts may have to wait until next year.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Uganda View on Piracy Efforts

As Reported HERE
Uganda has stridently criticized the Western strategy toward piracy in Somalia and described the campaign as wasteful and inefficient.

"The international reaction has been: 'Let's deal with piracy. Let's have our commanders there.' It is a good reaction, but it has not been successful," James Mugume, permanent secretary at Uganda's Foreign Ministry, told reporters on Friday.

Mugume noted that Uganda's plan to contain piracy is cheaper and more efficient.

"The concept of operation we presented to the Security Council is: let's take over the territory of Somalia. Let's block the ports… and the issue of piracy will automatically be reduced," he said.

The waters off the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia are considered the world's most dangerous due to persistent piracy attempts in the area.

The Gulf of Aden, which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea, is the quickest route for more than 20,000 vessels traveling from Asia to Europe and the Americas.

However, attacks by heavily armed Somali pirates in speedboats have prompted some of the world's largest shipping firms to switch routes from the Suez Canal and send cargo vessels around Southern Africa, causing a hike in shipping costs.

Somali pirates are currently holding about 30 foreign vessels and have taken more than 500 crew members hostage.

Somalia, located in the strategic Horn of Africa, does not have a functional government, and the Transitional Federal Government does not have much control beyond the capital city Mogadishu.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gulf of Aden Anti Piracy Training

As seen HERE

ISSG conducting anti piracy training for the Yemen Coast Guard in the Gulf of Aden

58-Private Security Firms Sign Code of Conduct

As Reported HERE

58 Firms Sign Historic International Code of Conduct for Private Security Services Providers

Code's Success Depends on Credible Implementation and Accountability

GENEVA - November 9 - Fifty-eight private security companies today signed an historic International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers, an agreement to uphold human rights respecting principles and to establish an inclusive oversight mechanism to verify that these principles are implemented. Human Rights First has participated in the Code drafting process for more than a year and said today's signing has the potential to improve the industry's human rights impacts.
"This Code is a strong document and an important step in building an effective scheme for improving this industry's human rights performance," said Human Rights First's Devon Chaffee, who spoke at today's signing ceremony in Geneva. "But its true value will depend on how it's enforced. Companies signing the Code have committed to establishing a mechanism for robust oversight and governance. The Code's credibility will rest upon the ability of that mechanism to hold signatory companies to account."
Today's ceremony was attended by companies' CEOs from around the world including Ignacio Balderas of Triple Canopy, Gen G J Binns of Aegis Defence Services Ltd., and Matthew R. Kaye of EOD Technology, Inc. Also in attendance were high level officials from the various governments that have been instrumental in the Code process, including Swiss Secretary of State Peter Maurer, U.K. Ambassador John Duncan and U.S. Legal Adviser to the Secretary of State Harold Koh. Ten American companies are among the documents initial signers, including industry leaders such as DynCorp, Triple Canopy, and Xe Services (formerly Blackwater).
Among its provisions, the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers lays out concrete requirements governing rules for the use of force, vetting and training personnel, and incident reporting. It also outlines a clear industry commitment to future verification, field auditing, a complaint process, and to a time-tabled roadmap to establish an inclusive governance and oversight mechanism.  We look forward to working with the participating governments and companies to ensure that the oversight mechanism is effective in identifying and addressing negative human rights impacts in the field.

International Code of Conduct Signing

Evolutionary Security Management, ISSG Holdings Ltd, and APPDS are proud to announce the first fully operational service provider to sign onto the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (ICoC). Brought together in 2009, this professionally and ethically driven alliance of companies offers a full spectrum of security services ranging from the protection of single individuals to major ships operating in complex environments.
The ICoC sets the ethical framework for private security companies operating in complex environments. These complex environments can leave local populations particularly vulnerable to the effects of the conflict. The ICoC seeks to limit the negative impact on these communities by clearly defining what is considered to be appropriate conduct when taking into account the rights of individuals as defined by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with significant input from civil society. Companies that contract with signatories to the ICoC are given a greater degree of assurance that the measures being taken to assure their security have taken into account branding, ethical and legal risks that could be elevated when using entities that do not adhere to the principles of the Code.
In making this commitment, our three companies can provide an assurance to our clients that the services that we offer are flexible, based on sound and proven practices and are now in line with the highest emerging standards in the industry.

Background on the Companies
Evolutionary Security Management provides specialized that focuses on risk assessment and security oversight.  Based in Canada, it has provided support to federal departments and major organizations around the world, including support as a recognized maritime security training provider. Its principal consultant, Allan McDougall, has acted as a senior security advisor to a number of lead agencies within the maritime security domain, including Transport Canada, Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Coast Guard and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans after his military service. He holds numerous certifications within the security domain, including the Certified Protection Professional, Certified Master Anti-terrorism Specialist, Professional in Critical Infrastructure Protection and the Computer and Information Systems Security Professional.
ISSG Holdings, based in the Seychelles, is a leading provider of merchant ship protection. Using security practices that have withstood some of the most challenging and complex environments for over four years, ISSG Holdings can offer armed and unarmed ship security from Egypt across to Sri Lanka and from the Arabian Sea to the Southern Indian Ocean. Its principal operator, Michael Murrell has provided managerial and leadership within civilian policing and the Coast Guard. In addition to its direct services, ISSG Holdings offers specialized anti-piracy training and mentoring to companies that are operating in the region.
APPDS is based in Greece and provides defence procurement solutions that comply with all relevant international and national regulations and oversight. A key partner in the anti-piracy activities, it can coordinate ship protection and also offers the maritime security officer foundations course—a high intensity course that brings together experts from the maritime security and police communities to provide maritime security service providers with training that is intended to ensure the appropriate protection of vessels using modern use of force training standards.
We are proud to be included as part of the initial signatories to the ICoC and the community that is leading the industry in strong ethical practices.
For further information, please contact us at:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chinese Ship Hijacked

As Reported HERE
China says pirates hijack cargo ship with 29 aboard in the Arabian Sea
BEIJING, China — Pirates hijacked a cargo ship with 29 Chinese sailors aboard in the Arabian Sea and told the shipping company they were taking it toward Somalia, Chinese officials and state media said Saturday.
The attack came just two days after another 17 Chinese sailors returned home after being held by Somali pirates for four months. It also highlights the spread of piracy to areas outside the Gulf of Aden, a hijacking hot spot now patrolled by international forces.
An official with the China Marine Rescue Center, surnamed Yang, said the Panama-flagged ship Yuan Xiang was attacked Friday night. The Ningbo Hongyuan Ship Management Company reported the pirate attack to the rescue centre just before midnight and said the pirates were taking the ship toward Somalia, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
A man answering the phone Saturday at the company said they were still trying to contact the ship.
Xinhua said the attack occurred in an area outside the region where China's navy is part of a multination force working together to patrol the Gulf of Aden — one of the world's busiest shipping lanes — and other waters off Somalia where pirates operate.
Raids by Somali pirates accounted for more than half of the 406 sea attacks last year — the highest total in six years.
The jump came despite the deployment at the end of 2008 of the first international force specifically to counter Somali pirates, the European Union Naval Force.
While worldwide pirate attacks fell 18 per cent in the first half of 2010 from a year ago, the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting centre in July said pirates were shifting their attacks outside the Gulf of Aden zone now patrolled by the multination force.
It said attacks in the Somali basin — the country's coastal waters, excluding the Gulf of Aden — and the wider Indian Ocean rose to 51 in the first half of this year from 44 a year ago. At the same time, attacks in the Gulf of Aden dropped to 33 from 86 a year ago.
On Wednesday, another 17 Chinese sailors returned home after being held more than four months by Somali pirates, who newspaper reports said gave the sailors only one meal of boiled potatoes per day.
The Beijing Daily said the pirates were paid an undisclosed amount of money in ransom after the Shanghai-based ship's owner mortgaged his home and all his shipping company shares to raise funds.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

INTERTANKO Slams Independent Convoys

As Reported HERE

Intertanko slams independent anti-piracy convoys

by Lloyd's List last modified Nov 12, 2010 12:21 PM
Intertanko has criticised the independent national convoys that travel the Internationally Recognised Transit Corridor in the Gulf of Aden as being irregular and uncoordinated.
Intertanko Asia-Pacific regional manager Tim Wilkins said that while the industry appreciated the contribution of the national convoys to anti-piracy, the organisation’s membership had concerns.
He said Intertanko would like to see far greater coordination and regulation of the national convoys, but he would not identify individual countries involved.
China, India and South Korea are among the nations that have sent convoys to protect their own merchant shipping interests in the Gulf of Aden.
“It is felt a significant enhancement to the protection provided could be made by the coordination and de-confliction of such convoys,” he said.
A meeting had taken place on Monday in London where these views had been shared with representatives of the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa, Mr Wilkins said.
Intertanko had produced a document he referred to as a “standard convoy notification form”, which the organisation’s members said would “greatly assist with de-confliction”.

MV Hannibal II Hijacked

As Reported HERE
Early this morning, the MV HANNIBAL II, a Panamanian-flagged vessel, was pirated whilst on route from Malaysia to Suez.
The 24,105 tonne chemical tanker was carrying vegetable oils from Pasir Gudang to Suez at the time.  The master of the vessel reported that he had been attacked and boarded by pirates in an area some 860 nautical miles East of The Horn of Africa which is considerably closer to India than it is to Somalia.  
The MV HANNIBAL II has a total of 31 crew on board.  This number consists of 23 Tunisians, 4 Filipinos, 1 Croatian, 1 Georgian, 1 Russian and 1 Moroccan.   
EU NAVFOR Somalia – Operation ATALANTA’s main tasks are to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid of the World Food Program (WFP) and vessels of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). EU NAVFOR also protects vulnerable vessels in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, deters and disrupts piracy. EU NAVFOR finally monitors fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.

Nov. 10th Somalia Piracy Report

As Reported HERE
Today, 10. November 2010, 23h00 UTC, at least 29 foreign vessels plus one barge are kept in Somali hands against the will of their owners, while at least 510 hostages or captives - including an elderly British yachting couple, the 5 hostages from Somaliland and a woman and man from a yacht - suffer to be released.

The world and the navies don't get it: Do they not realize that long after Somalia was neglected and only after the navies appeared and interfered at the Horn of Africa the real piracy developed and surged ? Now the situation has reached a new all-time high: Over 500 people held captive. The world holds Somalia hostage and the Somali pirates the world. This vicious circle of aggressive action and the senseless spiral of violence must be broken by peaceful means.

One of the most dangerous ideas (excerpt by Zoltán Grossman)
One of the most dangerous ideas of the 20th century was that "people like us" could not commit atrocities against civilians.
  • German and Japanese citizens believed it, but their militaries slaughtered millions of people.
  • British and French citizens believed it, but their militaries fought brutal colonial wars in Africa and Asia.
  • Russian citizens believed it, but their armies murdered civilians in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and elsewhere.
  • Israeli citizens believed it, but their army mowed down Palestinians and Lebanese.
  • Arabs believed it, but suicide bombers and hijackers targeted U.S. and Israeli civilians.
  • U.S. citizens believed it, but their military killed hundreds of thousands in Vietnam, Iraq, and elsewhere.
Every country, every ethnicity, every religion, contains within it the capability for extreme violence. Every group contains a faction that is intolerant of other groups, and actively seeks to exclude or even kill them. War fever tends to encourage the intolerant faction, but the faction only succeeds in its goals if the rest of the group acquiesces or remains silent. The attacks of September 11 were not only a test for U.S. citizens attitudes' toward minority ethnic/racial groups in their own country, but a test for our relationship with the rest of the world. We must begin not by lashing out at civilians in Muslim countries, but by taking responsibility for our own history and our own actions, and how they have fed the cycle of violence.



South-African owned SY CHOIZIL was sea-jacked 31. October 2010 after having left Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
Late Response
Though news had broken much earlier, the case
was officially only confirmed on 08. November, whereby the name of the yacht was still either not known or withheld. It is now clear that the yacht is the one-mast sailing yacht SY CHOIZIL, named after the Ile de Choizil an island near still French Mayotte, owned and sailed by South African skipper Peter Eldridge from Richards Bay, who escaped after the yacht was commandeered to Somalia, while his South African team-mates Bruno Pelizzari with partner Deborah were taken off the boat and are still held hostage on land in Southern Somalia.
Open Questions
Questions are still open concerning a possible fourth person on board or a second yacht, because reports still speak of a man having been killed in Baraawa (Brawa).
Pirates, several residents and al-Shabaab members, who also control Baraawe, had told Reuters on 07. November that a hostage had been shot dead, but that maybe referred to the skipper, who had disappeared from local peoples's view and was picked up by the navies. He either jumped overboard in the naval swoop or - compared with other hostage cases in Somalia more unlikely  - was allowed to stay back on the yacht when the hostage takers left the boat with the couple.

While the South African International Relations and Cooperation Department had confirmed that no South African man was killed in the incident, the Spokesman for the department, Saul Molobi, would only say the man killed was not South African.

Per Klingvall, spokesman for EU NAVFOR, however, said the anti-piracy task force had no information about anyone being killed, and that the rescued yachtsman had not been shot.
In the case of the sea-jacked, allegedly drug-smuggling yacht SY SERENITY,
which was then even used in a string af attacks on first Thai fishing vessels and then the U.S. American container vessel MAERSK ALABAMA, the existence of a fourth man on board and his identity were withheld by the authorities for still unknown reasons. His presence was only officially acknowledged after the Seychelles staged a release operation with the exchange of Somali prisoners and a ransom payment, which in itself hit several snags, because it was -
according to security sources - executed in a totally unprofessional way.
In addition there were in the beginning of the ordeal reports by news-wires not only of a man being shot but also that a woman and a boy had been taken hostage, which confused the picture.
Pelizzari’s family members and government authorities say Pelizzari, a South African of Italian origin, is described as being a small man, so it could have been assumed that a teenager was kidnapped. His girlfriend Deborah is said to be South-African of British decent.
Disputed Location of Attack
Early pieces of information originating from the Seychelles through the Seafarer's networks indicated that a sailing yacht with three persons had possibly been abducted either from the Seychelles, Kenya or off Baraawa (Brawa) in Somalia.

However, a press release from the Office of the Seychelles Minister for Home Affairs, Environment and Transport, Minister Joel Morgan, stated on 09. November that the Seychelles Coast Guard and the EU NAVFOR Atalanta representative in Seychelles have confirmed that the yacht was not taken hostage in Seychelles waters, but that the incident took place in Kenyan waters. Likewise the International Relations Department officials in Pretoria and European Union authorities have also said the yacht was captured by pirates off the coast of Kenya.
But South African yachtsman, Peter Olivier, who is from Cape Town while he now lives in the Tanzanian capital of Dar-es-Salaam, still cannot understand why his friends are said to have been attacked further north and off Kenya and not on their way south from Dar es Salaam, since they had planned to sail south to dock the yacht in Richards Bay in South Africa. He himself would nearly have been on that yacht, but had to pull out of the sailing trip with the three fellow South Africans due to a ruptured Achilles tendon. Olivier said: “I am not going to say I am relieved it wasn’t me. Instead, I feel really sorry for Bruno and Deborah."
Also Barry Turner, commodore at the Bluff Yacht Club in South Africa, where the couple from Cape Town were members, said the two were at the moment assisting another yachtsman in bringing a vessel back to Richard’s Bay in South Africa.
Though the skipper refused to speak to the media it is believed that he had been debriefed by the navies and other officials, who released their statements with naming Kenyan waters as the location where the attack had allegedly taken place. However, why the yacht, which was supposed to sail from Dar es Salaam south to South Africa should  have gone North to Kenya and then allegedly encountered the pirates there, was not explained by any of the official statements nor the owner.
Other naval sources, however, still maintain that the attack took place on the open sea at the boundary between Tanzania and Mozambique.
Both present hostages, Bruno Pelizzari and his girlfriend "Debbie", were on board when the yacht under the command of Peter Endrigde headed back to Richards Bay from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania on October 21 or 22. Together with the skipper and owner of the yacht, the trio are said to have then encountered the pirates on 31. October 2010 in the open sea.
At least one of the attacking pirates appeared to have  been from Tanzania and spoke KiSwahili. However, the sloop rigged sailing yacht set up for long distance cruising was then commandeered to Somalia by five Somalis - apparently with the aim to reach Harardheere at the Central Somali coast.
First sight
When observers had on 04. November a sighting of a yacht near the Bajuni Island of Koyaama at the Southern coast of Somalia, the search for a missing yacht was on in order to identify the boat and the sailors, but neither the Seychelles nor the network of yachts-people reported any missing yacht, though at that point already even the involvement of a second yacht could not be ruled out - according to an observer from ECOTERRA Intl.
Navies were then trailing the yacht at least since 04. November.
Navies get active
The fleeing yacht was forced by the pursuing navies to come close to Baraawa (Brawa). There the yacht had "officially" again been located by the EU NAVFOR warship FS FLOREAL on 6 November when it was "discovered to be sailing suspiciously close to shore", so the statement. Despite numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact the yacht, including a flypast by the warship’s helicopter, allegedly no answer was received and the French warship launched her boarding team to investigate further, a EU NAVFOR statement revealed and it was also officially stated that they had received a mayday signal. Why only then and not much earlier has so far not been explained.
After a direct chase by naval forces escalating the situation and the yacht running aground, SY CHOIZIL's skipper Peter reportedly jumped over board during a close naval swoop, when also shots were fired and a naval helicopter and a commando team in a speedboat were engaged. Other reports state the owner of the yacht, Peter Eldridge, managed to escape when he refused to leave the boat he built with his own hands 20 years ago. “I can understand why Peter, after all that hard work on his boat, would say: ‘No way are you taking my boat and I’m not getting off’,” said Jannie Smit, a friend. It is however highly unlikely that the hostage takers would have allowed him to just stay behind.
Peter Eldridge was later picked up by the navy and was placed into safety on a Dutch naval vessel. He is confirmed to be a South-African by nationality and his next of kin were informed immediately. After he then arrived at the Kenyan harbour of Mombasa on board the Dutch warship, he was handed over to South African officials and brought to Kenya's capital Nairobi on Monday, from where he returned already to South-Africa.
South Africa's High Commissioner to Kenya, Ndumiso Ntshinga, said he had be
en in contact with the rescued yachtsman on Monday and confirmed the two captives, a man and a woman, were both also South African citizens.
Barry Turner said the two, who are now the hostages, had set off for Madagascar a year ago.
Bruno Pelizzari, in his 50s, worked earlier for a company that serviced lifts. He started sailing 5 or 6 years ago and  according to a friend, they left Durban on a yacht about a year ago to explore the open seas and look for work. The couple met Peter Eldridge, an engineer, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, who wanted to.sail his yacht from Dar es Salaam for KwaZulu-Natal, because the yacht was in need of repairs. Fellow yachtsman Peter Olivier stated: "They are such nice people and they love sailing. Peter is a great guy and is experienced. Bruno is a quiet man but really nice. They are good people."
Pelizzari’s family said on Monday that the two were still captive in Somalia and International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane confirmed officially that the two South Africans were abducted.
The family, according to a South African news agency, is frustrated at not being able to get detailed information on Pelizzari’s welfare, and is deeply concerned for his safety.
Vera Pelizzari, Bruno’s sister, was worried about information being stifled and her brother’s plight then not being properly attended to and added: “We simply do not have the money to pay for ransom.”
Neither Pelizzari nor Debbie’s family have money for a ransom, a friend said on Tuesday.
Fate of the Yacht
Andrew Mwangura, co-ordinator of the East African Seafarers Assistance Programme, said earlier he assumed the yacht had been towed to Mombasa, but latest information ECOTERRA Intl. received from Somalia say the yacht was left behind by the naval forces. Peter Eldridge's wife, Bernadette, told then the South African Times that she did not know whether her husband Peter would return to Somalia to retrieve what's left of his yacht, SY Choizil, which was run aground by the pirates.
The German skipper Juergen Kantner, who had been sea-jacked together with partner Sabine on SY ROCKALL in the Gulf of Aden and who was later released from the mountainous hide-out of the hostage takers in Puntland after a ransom was paid, returned to where his yacht had been taken, repaired his boat and only home in the Somaliland harbour of Berbera and - though they had to encounter some further bad luck when a mobile-phone mast fell during a storm onto the yacht just the day before the planned departure - later sailed against all odds off via Aden in Yemen to continue the planned dream-voyage to Malaysia, where they arrived safely.
"We only can hope that the different reports speaking of the killing of one man, whereby at present nobody can say if that had been caused by the naval interaction or by the pirates or if it is mixed with another case, will turn out to be not correct at all," said a spokesman from ECOTERRA Intl. on 07. November, adding: "and we hope and urge the local elders to ensure that the innocent woman and man will be set free immediately."
Since the Al-Shabaab administration, who governs the vast areas in Southern Somalia, where the ancient coastal town of Baraawe (Brawa) is located, had earlier openly condemned any act of piracy, it is hoped that a safe and unconditional release of the hostages can be achieved.
With several reports from Somalia and other sources, saying the skipper of the South-African sailing yacht jumped over board and was picked up by naval forces, while 2 people were confirmed by EU NAVFOR as having been abducted, and local sources still insist that one person had been killed, it however could be possible that another person was on board earlier and was killed in the ensuing havoc or a case concerning a second yacht must be investigated.
Naval sources, however, say that Bruno Pelizzari and Deborah “walked” off with the pirates from the grounded yacht, and at that stage at least they appeared to have been unharmed.
The naval command of the European Operation Atalanta stated on Tuesday that the whereabouts of the other two crew members is currently unknown, despite a comprehensive search by an EU NAVFOR helicopter.
Karl Otto of the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Cape Town said Monday to IOL that the Department of International Relations and Co-operation was handling the hostage situation.
“They’ve got a couple of people who may be negotiating. We’ve been told to pass on any information to them,” Otto said.
Unfortunately, Bruno Pelizzari and his partner Deborah are reportedly at present still held hostage south of Baraawa (Brawa) and no ransom demands have been made. International Relations and Co-operation spokesperson Saul Kgomotso Molobi confirmed Wednesday the pirates had not yet made any ransom demand.
The families of the Durban couple are sick with worry while they wait to hear from the kidnappers.
Other Cases
In a sad and tragic precedent at the beginning of April 2009, the skipper of French yacht SY TANIT, Cpt. Florent Lemacon, was admittedly but apparently accidentally killed by French troopers in an ill-advised and blotched rescue attempt off the peninsula of Hafun on the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. His wife and 3-year old son survived. The investigations and court procedures on this case have not been concluded, since the actions of the French naval forces have been shrouded in secrecy.
Thereafter in October 2008, the yacht SY LYNN RIVAL was abducted in the Indian Ocean. This is the boat from which the British sailors Paul and Rachel Chandler were captured on their trip from the Seychelles to Tanzania. Though the elderly couple survived also their transfer to first another ship, whereby the British Royal navy was watching - but had to hold back from any action for obvious reasons - and then to land, the two are now held since over a year hostage, while the case has been neglected and is surrounded by deals gone sour. While most serious media seem to have been muzzled on this case, a recent article in the British gutter-press, which also gave a false record of the events, demonstrated only once more the neglect which characterizes the fate of these British citizens since they were taken hostage by an unscrupulous gang.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Current Hijack Situation

As Reported HERE


Today, 05. November 2010, 22h00 UTC, at least 30 foreign vessels plus one barge are kept in Somali hands against the will of their owners, while at least 551 hostages or captives - including an elderly British yachting couple and the 5 new hostages from Somaliland - suffer to be released. 
Request the Somali Marine & Coastal Monitor from ECOTERRA Intl. for background info and see the 
updated map of the PIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA. 
The world and the navies don't get it: Do they not realize that long after Somalia was neglected and only after the navies appeared and interfered at the Horn of Africa the real piracy developed and surged ? Now the situation has reached a new all-time high: Over 550 people held captive. The world holds Somalia hostage and the Somali pirates the world.


Reports from the boundary between Kenya and Tanzania indicated earlier that the 46,955 dwt chemical- and oil-products tanker MT TORM REPUBLICAN had been attacked today. Now it is said, but officially not yet confirmed, that the vessel has been sea-jacked and is already commandeered towards Somalia.
The vessel belongs to TORM A/S in Hellerup, Denmark but is managed by TORM SHIPPING INDIA PVT LTD in Andheri-Kur, India. The crew of about 22 is said to be all of Indian nationality.

... and now it is getting really crazy
More Fishing Vessels Netted in Somalia (ecop-marine/newsweek)
Somalis Seize Yemeni Minister's Fishing Boat, Another Iranian Vessels Held and Thai Bonded Labour Ship Taken and then Sunk
Identity of seized Thai Fishing Vessel  Found But Vessel Downed !!!!The identity of the fishing vessel captured in the Gulf of Aden on 03. November (we reported), whose name so far had been withheld for unknown reasons by NATO and the ICC/IMB/PRC, while EU NAVFOR had not mentioned it at all, could be established as FV SIRICHAI NAVA (aka SIRICHAINAWA) 11 - one of the infamous Sirichai-Fleet vessels from Thailand. 
The meanwhile Yemen-registered Thai fishing vessel Sirichai Nava 11, was captured on Tuesday while sailing 15 nautical miles (about 28 kilometres) off the coast of Yemen.The Yemeni Coastguard engaged the captured vessel FV SIRICHAINAVA 11 on 03. November 2010 and shots were exchanged. Thereafter the Yemeni Coastguard stopped the attack and it was presumed that the vessel would now be used as piracy-launch.
Thai navy personnel, who are joining the international effort to crack down on Somali pirates, launched a search for the fishing vessel after learning of the hijacking. 
HTMS Pattani arrived in the attack area on Wednesday about 7am, but did not see the Thai vessel, the Bakok Post reports.
The Thai navy operations used a helicopter to hunt for the ship but failed to locate it. It had reportedly been taken towards the Somali coast. 
The officers later went back to the spot where the ship was hijacked and found 23 victims floating in the sea. 
One crew member said the vessel was attacked by 10 Somali pirates. 
After the seizure, two of the pirates left on their speedboat while eight others took control of the Thai boat and forced it to sail towards the Somali coast. 
About 1am on Wednesday, the trawler was shot at by a so far unidentified vessel and sunk. 
The crewmen were left drifting in the sea until they were rescued by the Thai patrol ship. They did not know what happened to the eight pirates.
This case requires a full investigation, especially who blew the vessel out of the waters and questions also must be asked why the navies didn't report even the name of the vessel right from the start. In the moment the EU NAVFOR command centre in UK's Nortwood by keeping the figures low persistently hides - against better knowledge - around one dozen vessels sea-jacked in Somalia from the eyes of the public and regularly gives out false reports to the media. 
Two Thai navy ships - HTMS Pattani and HTMS Similan - with 351 sailors and 20 special warfare troops aboard, were sent in September to help police the shipping lanes off Somalia. Last year up to 32 attacks on Thai ships were reported and crews taken hostage.

One of the Thai company's other vessels, called FV EKAWANAT NAVA 5, was was two years ago - in November 2008 -  blown out of the water by the Indian navy, mistaking it for a pirate vessel and not adhering to warnings which had been sent to all navies saying that the ship was commandeered by Somalis with the crew being held captive on board. All of the 15 crew, except one sailor who later served as witness, were killed in the incident due to the wrongful attack by the Indian naval soldiers on INS TANBAR. Thailand back then officially complained to India on the friendly-fire killings.. Thailand's Sirichai Fisheries so far has not fully compensated the families of the killed seamen, but it says it supports the U.S.-based Marine Stewardship Council, one of the phony product-labelling outfits with no control whatsoever, and states it would practice environmentally friendly fishing. 
But NEWSWEEK has interviewed four past crewmen on Sirichai vessels and seen written complaints to a Cambodian human-rights group from three others. All claim to have endured treatment that fits the ILO's definition of forced labour. They say they were trafficked into Thailand on tourist visas, forced to hand over their passports and compelled to board a boat bound for Africa even though the recruiter promised them cannery jobs in Thailand. "We thought we were finished," says Long Thorn, one of Sirichai's initial Cambodian recruits. "We didn't know how many years we were sold for. They lied to us."
Bonded Labour
The experience of forced labor offers shades of misery, as the stories of Long and his neighbor Chann Ham show. They were crewmates on a Sirichai voyage to Somalia in 2005. After the monthlong journey, they were assigned to separate fishing boats, each supplied every two months by a "mother ship" from Thailand. Long repaired nets, sorted fish and cleaned catches of tuna, shark and octopus, sleeping just four hours a day during peak times. After 27 months, he was re- turned home and paid $155 per month, less than the $190 he was promised, but enough to double the size of his family home and by a slick red motor scooter. Chann, racked by constant seasickness, tried to stow away on the mother ship but was forced back aboard his vessel by a Somali guard who, he claims, fired several live rounds between his legs. Ten months later Chann was shipped home and paid less than $500, or about $1.60 per day— enough only to buy a cow, and his father's disapproval. "The people who stayed had a lot of money when they came back, but [my son] couldn't stay," says Chann's father. "I don't know who to blame for this."
Absent clearly enforceable global rules, it is easy to pass the blame around. Sirichai's general manager, Wiriya Sirichai- Ekawat, admits there have been troubles with Cambodian recruits, but he blames labor brokers who were paid by Sirichai for their services in 2005 but were "not our people." Asked if the company's treatment of foreign employees amounted to slavery, he said: "We never do that." In an e-mail, the Thai company's managing director, Wicharn Sirichai-Ekawat, says Sirichai has only one policy: "To follow the law." He says Sirichai is the only Thai fishing company that does not use illegal labor. Chuop Narath, deputy director of employment and manpower in Cambodia's Ministry of Labor, says Sirichai's recruitment practices are illegal.
The risks won't deter hungry young men like Cambodian Tuon Sina, a 22-year-old newlywed with an infant child to feed. Last fall he left his ancestral village for Thailand and boarded a fishing boat for Somalia. He had heard of past troubles, but he'd also seen older neighbors return rich after working abroad and wanted "to follow their example." His mother's protests went unheeded. "I tried to stop him but I could not," she says. "It's a risky adventure for money."
There's a good chance you or your pets have eaten fish caught by Sirichai and similar operations, though in the fishing industry the supply trail is particularly murky. One of Sirichai's main buyers is Kingfisher, which supplies leading Western brands and is controlled by Maruha Nichiro Holdings, Japan's leading seafood retailer. Maruha says it will cease doing business with Sirichai if the allegations of illegal recruiting practices are true. But many seafood wholesalers say it's hard to enforce labor rules on fishing boats. "We don't control the boats," says Joseph Kiang, a senior Kingfisher executive. "The fishing boats have their own regulation."
Sirichai seems to sail close to the wind with its fishing & recruiting, but there's more and more evidence of it being a fishing firm with some very iffy business practices (fishing in high-risk areas, recruiting the poor & desperate & ignoring employment laws, fishing where it isn't licensed, clandestine fishing deals e.g. with Puntland first and now Yemen, etc.), all issues which as such are regrettably common in the fishing industry.
Crime, Slavery And Robbery Turn Fish Into Blood-Products
Many of these industries are also involved in the false labelling of tuna cans and it could be established that canned tuna with high mercury content - e.g. caught of the Far-Eastern countries - is transshipped to be sold in Africa, because watchful governmental bodies in the US or Europe prohibit their import, while the tuna low in toxins from the African Indian Ocean coasts, which are mostly unprotected against illegal fishing fleets, is fetching top-prizes at auctions in Japan or is making much of the supplies of the tuna canning industry in Thailand or Taiwan for exports to those countries with higher consumer-standards, where again re-labelling with fancy environmental logos is practised to even fetch more profit.
Like in blood-diamonds or blood-timber the criminal natural resources exploitation of the oceans has reached proportions, involving highest offices and politicians even in Europe, which as a form of organized, international and transboundary crime appears to be insurmountable, especially because those tasked with the fight against criminal networks and corruption never look upstairs - like in the bloody and often deadly piracy games. The masterminds with the white collars sitting in acclimatized offices are not at all targeted, while their footsoldiers are killed to proof that "something is done". No, like in the fight against drugs - nothing tangible and effective is done at all.

Somalis Seize Yemeni Minister's Fishing Boat, Many Iranian Vessels Held and Thai Bonded Labour Ship Taken

Alleged Somali pirates seized a Yemeni fishing boat off the port of Balhaf in Shabow province, 14 nautical miles away from the coast, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported on 04. November 2010 the Yemen Interior Ministry as saying.
The Yemeni police coastguard confirmed the capture of the boat named FV AL-JAZEERA 8 owned by the Yemeni ministry of fisheries.
The coastguard was continuing its efforts to retrieve the boat, a report says. The number of crew is not yet known and further reports are awaited.
Another Iranian Vessels Held by Somali gangs - But Not Reported by the Navies
Meanwhile sources with detailed knowledge from Iran stated after the release of one Iranian fishing vessel without ransom - but a reward for their captain for good assistance during piracy operations of other vessels, that at least one other Iranian fishing vessel is held by the Somali gangs. This now was confirmed by observers from Garacad that one Iranian fishing vessel is held there and the name is assumed to be FV AL-FAHAD.
How many Iranian vessels were seized over time for illegal fishing in Somali waters or how many were taken to use them as piracy launch or to press ransom could so far not clearly be established, because so far the Iranian government has never been really revealing these cases. And the navies do not report them either, because if one of the illegal fish-poachers would start to report on the other the whole system of industrialized overfish with their linbks into highest offices in all the countries involved would collapse. It is hoped that one state finally emerges as whistle-blower, which wants to be known in future as a role model and country operating clean and sustainable fisheries in every respect.
It is advised that the authorities in Iran place a similar ban on their vessel like the Indian government did and draw a line from Mahe to Salalah - not to be crossed by Iranian Fishing vessels, if they don't want to be seen a colluding or collaborating with the pirates of Somalia.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Comoran-Flagged Vessel Hijacked

As Reported HERE

Somali pirates seize ship with 29 people on board

03/11/10 18:58 GMT
Somali pirates on Wednesday hijacked a Comoran-flagged vessel as it headed to Tanzania from the Comoros with 29 sailors on board, the European Union anti-piracy mission said.
The 43-metre-long (140-foot) merchant vessel Aly Zoulfecar was en route between the Indian Ocean archipelago and Dar Es Salam when it was attacked, the EU NAFOR mission said in a statement.
"On the morning of 3 November 2010, the master of the MV Aly Zoulfecar reported that pirates were on board," the statement said.
The ship was carrying nine crew members and 20 passengers. Among those on board, 13 were from Tanzania, 12 from Comoros and four from Madagascar.
The UN reported on Tuesday that Somali pirates had increased the number of successful hijackings in 2010, become more violent and expanded their attack zone.
The pirates staged 37 successful hijackings of ships in the first 10 months of 2010, up from 33 in the same period of 2009, the UN report said.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ocean Shield vs US Navy

 I had found it a bit curious that there are two piracy reports from
two different entities with the following:

Geographical Subregion: 61 Geographical Location:
12° 12' 00" S
64° 53' 00" E
Aggressor: PIRATES
WESTERN INDIAN OCEAN: Merchant vessel attacked in
12-12S 064-53E at 300232Z Oct.
Vessels may have been hijacked.
Vessels are advised to keep 100 miles clear of this position

October 30 2010
WARNING Indian Ocean
Latitude: 12°12N Longitude: 064°53E

Alert number 454 / 2010.

At 0232 UTC on the 30 OCT a merchant vessel
was attacked by 2 skiffs in position 12°12N 064°53E.

** This Vessel is Pirated **

Now it is obvious that one report is wrong. What would be the odds
of two piracy hijackings with the identical coordinates, but one as
12-12N and one as 12-12S but both having the exact same East Coordinate
on the exact same day? Just for thought on accuracy of reporting.