Monday, January 31, 2011

Somali Pirates Kill Two Sri Lankans

As Reported HERE 

Somali Pirates Kill Two Sri Lankan Fishermen

(RTTNews) - Somali pirates have shot dead two Sri Lankan fishermen and taken three others hostage after their fishing boat strayed accidentally into Somali waters, Sri Lanka's fisheries ministry announced Monday.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said the pirates attacked the fishing vessel on January 27, adding that the pirates threw the bodies of two fishermen overboard after shooting them dead.
The ministry received information about the incident from a radar communication made by the three fishermen who are currently being held hostage by the pirates. The pirates are yet to make any ransom demands.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan government said the families of the fishermen have been informed about the incident, and added that it had launched diplomatic efforts to trace the hostages and the hijacked fishing vessel.
Somalia's coastline, particularly the Gulf of Aden, has been infected with piracy in recent years. Pirates are presently believed to be holding 29 vessels and 693 hostages off the Somali coast. The incidents mostly end with payment of ransom after lengthy negotiations, but generally without any fatalities.

Ship Security and the Suez Canal

As Reported HERE

Ships unable to get navy escorts, some supplies at Egypt's Suez port

Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:31am GMT
[-] Text [+]
* No shipment delays or cancellations through Suez Canal
* Port operations in Suez slow due to unrest
* Some ships docked at port unable to change crew, re-supply
By Randy Fabi
SINGAPORE, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Vessels at Egypt's port of Suez are unable to pick-up military escorts for protection through the pirate-prone Gulf of Aden due to the unrest in the country, a senior industry official said on Monday.
Ships have been travelling through the Suez Canal, the main passageway for Europe's crude oil and imported goods, as usual with no reports of delays or cancellations.
Operations at the port have slowed, however, as anti-government protests have kept supplies and some staff from reaching the docks.
"No ships have been delayed, but there have been no immigration or customs officials to clear security teams for shipments for the past two days," said a senior coordinator with a shipping firm operating in Suez, who wished not to be named.
"Crew changes for ships have also stopped and some provisions, like food and water, were not reaching the port," he added.
Suez has jumped into the world's radar as the scene of clashes between government forces and protesters demanding the removal of President Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled Egypt for three decades.
Half of all vessels that travel through the Suez Canal stop at the port city to re-supply, refuel, change crew and pick-up security escorts, the company official said.
More than 34,000 vessels passed through the canal in 2009, of which nearly 2,700 were oil tankers carrying some 29 million tonnes of oil, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Ships were now docking at ports in nearby countries, like Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, to obtain military escorts and supplies.
The maritime industry has become increasingly reliant on military escorts for protection against Somali pirates when travelling through the Gulf of Aden via the Suez Canal.
Global pirate attacks hit a seven-year high in 2010 and a record number of crew were taken hostage, with Somali pirates accounting for 49 of the 52 ships seized, the International Maritime Bureau watchdog said this month.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pirates Adapt to Navies

As Reported HERE

Pirates change tactics, adapt to Navy’s success

By Sam Fellman - Staff writer
Posted : Saturday Jan 29, 2011 8:46:50 EST
Piracy may have fallen off markedly in the Gulf of Aden and the South Korean navy may have recently retaken a pirated freighter, saving its crew, but neither success should be grounds for declaring victory, said the Navy’s top commander in the region.
Instead, he cautioned that the pirate threat, which is evolving and spreading far from African shores, calls for a more robust approach.
“We are facing a thinking opponent,” Vice Adm. Mark Fox, 5th Fleet commander, said in meeting with reporters Wednesday. “They know our red lines. They know our modes of operations.”
The two sides are locked in a maritime chess match. After increased hijackings of merchant ships by African pirates, NATO, aided by other nations including China, stepped up patrols through the Gulf of Aden. The pirates, who had launched raids from the Somali coast in small, short-range skiffs, countered with a new advance: motherships.
These ships are a “game changer,” Fox said. Pirates have turned large captured ships into floating bases, loaded with skiffs and weapons, he said; the vessels are outfitted with the fuel and supplies to head far out to sea while evading maritime patrols.
The monsoon season once kept pirate skiffs ashore, but motherships allow for year-round piracy. About eight of these “pirate action groups” are spread throughout the region, he said.
Fox continued, “Just as we have pressurized them in the Gulf of Aden, they have gone where we’re not. And if you think of the scope and the scale of the distances involved here, the Somali basin is larger than the entire East Coast of the United States, from the Mississippi east.”
The pirates are also taking many more hostages, Fox said. Pirates held 770 hostages as of Jan. 26, more than double the 350 they held in September, Fox said. They’re holding the hostages longer and demanding higher ransom. This, too, has changed the calculus.
“The new center of gravity in this is the hostage piece,” Fox said.
As a result, Fox called for measures that would broaden the counterpiracy effort, from creating a legal framework for bringing suspected pirates to justice in now-lawless Somalia to developing more lethal force options and tracking pirate supply chains. Fox said the multinational coalition should take a cue from counterterrorism operations, which run the full gamut of force, intelligence and engagement.
“We’ve not used the same level of rigor in terms of following the money on the counterpiracy piece as we have with the counterterror,” Fox said. That means, he added, “Doing the supply chain. You know, ‘Where are they getting their fuel? How are their outboard motors getting there?’”
Fox stopped short of calling for more lethal force against pirates and acknowledged that there is no established link between terrorist groups and piracy.
The shipping industry is spooked. Once-safe routes near the coast of India are now pirate hunting grounds. And pirate methods are increasingly brutal, Fox said. Hostages are routinely tortured or suffer mock executions and gunshots next to their ears.
“Once somebody’s been pirated and they’ve been held hostage for a while, that crew is not all that energized to ever go back into that region,” Fox said. Fox endorsed a United Nations report, about to be released, that calls for extending an international law approach to piracy in the Gulf of Aden. That would resolve another long-standing problem: getting captured pirates off Navy ships quickly.
“They spend an awful lot of time on a U.S. ship while we’re waiting for a legal finish to the problem,” Fox said. “I don’t want any pirates to get any sea service ribbons on my ships.”

Mother Ship Destroyed, Fishermen Rescued

As Reported HERE
The Indian Navy and the Coast Guard in a joint operation on Friday, destroyed a pirate mother ship, Prantalay, off the Lakshadweep group of islands and arrested 15 pirates.
They also rescued 20 fishermen of Thailand and Myanmarese nationalities who were being held hostage by the pirates after Prantalay was hijacked by them on April 18 last year. Since its hijack, the vessel was being extensively used by the pirates to launch attacks on merchant vessels passing along the shipping lanes off the island chain.
“The vessel has been a risk to international shipping for many months and has carried out several attacks,” said the Navy in a media release.  
As reported by The Hindu on Friday, a Coast Guard Dornier aircraft on Friday shooed away two skiffs that were closing in on MV CMA CGM Verdi, a Bahama Flagged container ship, about 300 nautical miles west of Lakshadweep. “Seeing the aircraft, the skiffs immediately aborted their piracy attempt and dashed towards the mother vessel Prantalay, which hurriedly hoisted the two skiffs onboard and set a westerly course to escape from the area. This action cleared all doubts of Prantalay being used by pirates as a mother vessel. Whilst the Coast Guard and Navy Dorniers continuously tracked Prantalay, Indian Naval Ship Cankarso (a recently commissioned Water Jet Fast Attack Craft) which was already deployed in the area for anti-piracy patrol, was directed to intercept and investigate Prantalay,” said the Navy.
By Friday evening,  INS Cankarso approached Prantalay and made all efforts  to establish communication on the international Mercantile Marine Band, but the vessel did not respond and continued to proceed westwards in the hope of escaping.
According to the Navy, Cankarso fired a warning shot well ahead of the bows of Prantalay to compel it to stop in keeping with internationally accepted norms. Instead of stopping, however, Prantalay suddenly opened fire on INS Cankarso. The warship returned limited fire in self defence. Thereafter, it was observed that a fire had broken out on Prantalay (mother vessels are known to carry additional fuel drums to fuel the skiffs). Personnel were also seen jumping overboard, the Navy said. 
INS Cankarso recovered 20 fishermen of Thai and Myanmarese nationalities. These were the original crew of the fishing vessel and were being held hostage for several months. Fifteen pirates were also recovered, under humanitarian considerations. INS Cankarso was subsequently joined by INS Kalpeni and CGS Sankalp. Naval and Coast Guard ships and aircraft are presently in the area searching for any other fishermen and pirates, said the media release.  
In addition to the anti-piracy patrols being sustained in the Gulf of Aden since Oct 2008, in view of the dangers from vessels such as Prantalay, the Navy and the Coast Guard have been maintaining vigil west of the Lakshadweep Islands in the last two months. This has proved effective in keeping the international shipping lanes in this region safe from piracy attacks and piracy incidents in this area have seen a 75 per cent decline since December last.
South Eastern Arabian sea is a focal point of international traffic and the security of these sea lanes in the Arabian Sea is critical to the flow of global trade.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Two Seaman Escape From Pirates

As Reported HERE

LONDON – NATO says a Danish warship has rescued two men who escaped from pirates off the coast of East Africa.
The western military alliance says the men were among several crew members who attempted to shake their captors two days after their ship, the MV Beluga Nomination, was hijacked.
The attempt to overwhelm the pirates failed, but the two seamen, a Ukrainian and a Filipino, managed to escape in one of the ship's life boats.
NATO said in a statement that the pair spent two days at sea before being picked up by the HDMS Esbern Snare on Friday.
The rest of the crew remains aboard their ship — now anchored off the Somali coast — where they await rescue or ransom.

Indian Coast Guard Thwarts Pirate Attack

As Reported HERE
New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) Pirates closing in on a merchant vessel off the Lakshadweep were thwarted by the Indian Coast Guard Friday with its patrol aircraft chasing the sea brigands away through a timely intervention.
The Bahamas-flagged container carrier, MV CMA CGM Berd, was sailing west of the Lakshadweep Islands when the Coast Guard's Dornier on a surveillance sortie noticed two skiffs in its vicinity around 10.30 a.m, a Navy official said.

Soon, the aircraft descended to pass over the merchant vessel to check on the suspicious activity.

Noticing the Coast Guard aircraft, the pirates abandoned their plans to attack the merchant vessel and quickly sailed away from there, the navy spokesperson said in a press release.

The patrol aircraft crew also sighted the mother-vessel of the pirates identified as merchant ship Prantalay, in the vicinity.

The navy and the Coast Guard rushed their ships to the location to keep a continuous watch on the movements of Prantalay, the spokesperson said.

'Because of the timely arrival of the aircraft, the merchant vessel is now safe and is heading for its next port of call in East Asia,' he added.

The Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard are maintaining anti-piracy vigil around the Lakshadweep Islands since November last year when heightened activity of the sea brigands was noticed in the Arabian Sea.

The two maritime forces have based their ships permanently around the Lakshadweep islands to ward off the pirates, who have now reached the waters around the island chain due to the effective anti-piracy operations that multi-national navies are carrying out off the coast of Somalia in Gulf of Aden.

India joined the anti-piracy effort in October 2008 and has since escorted over 1,200 merchant vessels in the Gulf of Aden.

'Anti-piracy patrols and surveillance in the east Arabian Sea will continue in order to assure merchant vessels using the international shipping lanes there of their security,' the spokesperson noted.

The Coast Guard has opened a new district headquarters in Kavatti and a station in Minicoy in the Lakshadweep Islands in December last. The navy plans to set up its base in the island chain to increase its operational reach and presence in the region in the coming years.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

'Fight harder' to hold off pirates

From Safety at Sea Weekly News;

"AN EU NAVFOR commander today denounced a culture of “compliance, club-class flights and conferences” among flag states and shipping companies for undermining naval anti-piracy efforts in the Indian Ocean.

Colonel Richard Spencer of the UK's Royal Marines used an IMO piracy workshop in London to excoriate the shipping industry for, in many cases, failing to take adequate self-protection measures or assist the co-ordinating naval bodies.

“NATO has taken to phoning up ships within 50 miles of a mother ship sighting to warn them of the risk,” he told delegates, because the commercial ships are not heeding NAV warnings. “They are sailing blind.”

Spencer acknowledged the inadequacy of the political response and the lack of naval resources available but also said fewer attacks would succeed if ships could hold off pirates for 45 minutes.

“You’ve got to play the game [and] fight harder for your ships,” he declared. “I recognise they [crews] are civilians, but if it were me in a choice between 45 minutes and eight months held hostage, I’m in for a fight.”

Some flag states are registering ships for passage and providing LRIT information, but their ships “as we watch them go by” are obviously not implementing best security practices, he said. “There is a reason why some flags consistently have the highest number of ships taken,” Spencer said. “I’m speechless as to why some flag states are not doing more."

“There are an awful lot of club-class flights and conferences, but are they meeting their responsibilities?”

When I was a child, I tended to get into trouble from time to time—it’s part of the traditions of those that work in the maritime industry that we have our occasional brushes that way. I remember that one day, after a particularly difficult game, we had broken a window and one of our the “Dad’s” came out—in all his anger and carrying his belt to ask who was responsible. It was amazing how quickly people pointed everywhere else when they were asked whose responsibility it was. Today, we are seeing the same thing with respect to the measures regarding piracy—and, courtesy of Colonel Spencer, the game’s afoot and all the fingers are up.

Let’s be clear here. Each group has had its successes and its failures. We tend to remember the failures better—even though some might argue that the plight of the number of hostages in Somalia speaks volume to our memories or our values. And let’s keep it in perspective...the goal here is to ensure that ships can move (legitimately) persons and goods from one place to another so that they arrive on time, in acceptable condition and for reasonable cost.

First of all, there have been some flag states that have done precious little with respect to this issue. These states are not hard to find...just do a quick look through the various sites where they publish their bulletins and such. Others have imposed baseline security requirements, often stating that compliance with BMP3 measures is mandatory. And in this lies the problem.

The first problem is that certain groups, even cultures, seem to equate security with compliance. This is not the case and, one might even argue, is dangerous. Compliance is about ensuring that you follow everything on a list. The problem here is that the other team has probably read the list and this means they can work their way around to find the nooks and crannies. So much for your protective posture...particularly if you have the kind of organization that uses dummies for watchkeeping.

Security on the other hand can be broken down into the following major steps—identifying what you need to accomplish something, identifying threats that can cause injury to those assets, assessing how vulnerable you are, calculating the risk and then, in some cases, working further to install security controls (not necessarily through the installation of infrastructure, it can be as easily as adjusting a process). Compliance with a set number of security requirements may address this, but it is as much an educated guess as a sound practice as simple compliance does not validate the vulnerabilities and risks that may be unique in the system.

Compliance has been a long-standing issue for those in maritime security. Those that remember the frantic pace with which the ISPS Code came into force also remember the number of inspectors (particularly safety and customs) that were rebadged into the security role. This was the beginning of the problem. The second element was that in order to create and enforce regulations, it is inherently easier to write and enforce prescriptive regulations. Why? Because there is less room for discussion or argument—the fence is either eight feet high or it is not. If you need to enforce it, you measure it and see if it meets the minimum requirements.

So, if we need to look at this whole issue of who is responsible, then let’s ask the question. Who is responsible? Well, most of these ships carry some form of an International Ship Security Certificate under the ISPS Code. Well, how many states have required that their ships operate at anything other than the basic security level (MARSEC 1) while transiting through this area... the list is pretty few. The fact of the matter is that if ships, and their flag states, were meeting their obligations under Part A of the ISPS in accordance with sound security practices (not somebody’s designed-by-committee guess), we would have a lot fewer of these things.

As for the argument that it is the job of the navy to protect ships...that is only partially true. The ship is a corporate asset, meaning that there is a responsibility to preserve the asset from a management perspective. There is also a requirement for the company to take reasonable steps for the protection of the crew—if not legally, then at least ethically. Is there a reasonable expectation that a warship will break away from its mission to travel over 500 nautical miles to rescue a ship? Or is there perhaps an argument that a security officer would have had a sense as to how long it would take for a response to an attack and would have realized that, based on the strength of a stronger room, there was more than enough time for pirates to get in. This is basic security—literally 101 taught to the most junior security officers—time to delay must be greater than the time for effective response.

I would like to put forward five major things that would likely go a long way towards reducing this issue:
·        First, the IMO and other bodies conduct proper threat and risk assessments on the waters they are dealing with—making the results available throughout the shipping and ship security communities;

·        Second, flag states require that the routes ships are going to take are compared against the threats identified in the Ship Security Assessment to ensure that those threats have been considered under the ship security plan as a condition of the basic ISSC;

·        Third, that there be a credible and critically reviewed Ship Security Standard developed that aligns with a proper risk-based management system;

·        Fourth, that the military, shipping and ship security communities open up lines of communication with respect to reporting instead of each cloistering its information under the veils of “sensitive” or “proprietary” information; and

·        Fifth, that pressure be brought to bear properly on the various companies that are not exercising their due diligence by appropriately assessing risk and taking steps to mitigate that risk in terms of commercial insurance penalties, regulation preventing them from hiring until they can demonstrate that the risks have been met and addressed appropriately.

Finally, it is time that those practicing security be able to demonstrate competence in the field. We need more than trigger pullers riding ships and we need more than career bureaucrats setting down security regulations. What piracy has shown us is that we can continue to do business as normal—we just have to be willing to sacrifice a couple of hundred people a year—or we can decide to adapt and start handling the job the way it needs to get done.

Corruption; "I Can't Remember"

As Reported HERE
Although this is not maritime related, I thought it was prudent to post. 

 ‘P50-M send-off gift for Reyes’

Colonel explodes bombshell in Senate
By Christian V. Esguerra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:10:00 01/28/2011

Filed Under: Military, Graft & Corruption
MANILA, Philippines—A retired lieutenant colonel on Thursday made a surprise appearance at the Senate and disclosed how he and his ex-bosses allegedly amassed wealth, with a large portion of the loot taken from soldiers’ salaries.
Seated on a wheelchair following a stroke, George Rabusa dropped a bombshell: that Angelo Reyes, a former Armed Forces chief of staff, received a send-off gift (“pabaon”) of “not less than” P50 million when he retired in 2001.
Rabusa said he personally delivered the cash to the “White House,” Reyes’ then quarters at Camp Aguinaldo, that year. He said he was accompanied by the then military comptroller, Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot.
“We had to convert [the money] to dollars because it was very bulky,” Rabusa said during the Senate blue ribbon committee’s initial hearing on the plea bargain between government prosecutors and ex-military comptroller Carlos Garcia.
On top of the purported “pabaon,” Reyes, who later became defense secretary, allegedly received a monthly take of at least P5 million—or around P100 million in his 20 months as AFP chief of staff. Rabusa said he and Ligot made the monthly deliveries.
Rabusa said Reyes’ office also received another P5 million monthly, but added that the amount was spent for office needs and was not necessarily pocketed by Reyes.
He said the distribution of hefty amounts to top military officials was a “tradition” in the AFP. “It was there when we got there. We inherited it from those who came before us,” he said.
He added that this tradition had also benefited two other AFP chiefs of staff, Diomedio Villanueva and Roy Cimatu, who allegedly each received around P10 million as a “start-up” fund.
“As soon as they assumed office, they already asked to be given,” he claimed.
Can’t remember
Reyes did not vehemently deny Rabusa’s claims, saying only: “I cannot remember accepting” the P50-million “pabaon.”
Ligot also claimed—to the senators’ disbelief—that he could not remember accompanying Rabusa to deliver the money to Reyes.
“I cannot recall going there every month. We go there occasionally…” he said.
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada threatened to have Ligot locked up in one of the Senate rooms until he told the truth. “I’m willing to wait until Monday until you remember,” Estrada said.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile chided Ligot, saying incidents like the purported cash deliveries “are not forgettable.” He told Ligot: “Don’t press your luck.”
It was Estrada who brought in Rabusa as a surprise witness in the blue ribbon committee’s inquiry.
Rabusa admitted that he himself had pocketed amounts from military funds, but said he was getting only some P500,000. He was earlier accused of amassing some P50 million in assets.
“I had the discretion to handle cash and I cannot be a hypocrite [to say] that I wasn’t getting anything from that,” he said.
Rabusa said that while serving under Garcia, he and his boss “converted” almost P1 billion from 2001 to 2002.
“Once the money was converted, he just told me to give it to him. I didn’t know what happened next,” he said.
By conversion, Rabusa meant the purported practice in the general military headquarters of pooling amounts for distribution to ranking officials, including recipients outside the AFP.
The money is taken mainly from the “provisions for command-directed activities” or PCDA fund, and “savings” from the personnel services budget of the military.
Reading from a list provided by Rabusa, Estrada identified other purported beneficiaries of the PCDA fund: the office of the vice chief of staff (P1.5 million plus P300,000), deputy chief of staff (P1.5 million), and the secretary of the joint staff (P1 million).
Also in the list were the senior military aide of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, military auditor, House legislative officer, retired generals, defense press corps, surgeon general, chief nurse, janitors and gardeners.
Sources of funds
Rabusa said the PCDA fund was collected from the joint staff offices. He said these offices usually came up short and, thus, collections had to be made from the major services—the Army, Navy, and Air Force—and the Philippine Military Academy, Presidential Security Group and AFP Medical Center.
The personnel services budget also became a source of the purported loot when Rabusa et al. would collect allocations for a particular troop ceiling.
‘Raw info’
Per Rabusa’s explanation, this happened because the Department of Budget and Management released a fund for, say, 120,000 troops when the AFP actually had only 100,000. The salary for the 20,000 allegedly became the source of additional funds for military officials.
Rabusa’s claims are “raw information” that “authorities” need to verify, according to Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta, the AFP spokesperson.
When asked by reporters in Camp Aguinaldo if he was surprised by Rabusa’s allegations, Mabanta said: “Not really.”
“It’s up to him. Everyone can say what he [wants]. But these are raw information which I think needs to be further verified. It’s really up to the authorities to find out its veracity and truthfulness.”
When asked if the military leadership would investigate past AFP chiefs of staff regarding the purported “send-off” money, Mabanta said they would wait for developments as a result of Rabusa’s claims.
He said any abuse of military funds in the past should be the subject of “further investigation,” in which the AFP was willing to cooperate.
He added that the AFP would “provide whatever is requested from us by competent authorities.”
Mabanta also said that since the plunder case of Garcia came to light, the military leadership had adopted measures to make the AFP’s financial situation more transparent.
Check and balance
“Ever since this exposé, there have been a lot of things happening in the office of the comptroller. From a very big office, it was divided into smaller offices. One of the intentions of this [move] was to show that there is check and balance,” Mabanta said.
He said that with the breaking up of the office of the comptroller, no one office could decide on “financial issues” related to military funds.
“There is a policymaking body and then somebody will be the implementor [of the policies]. In other words, check and balance within offices,” he said.
Mabanta said the new system would not allow a repeat of the Garcia case.
He said a similar incident would not happen anymore “because of the innovations undertaken after [the plunder case] came out in the open.” With a report from Alcuin Papa

Korean Piracy Rescue Mistake?

As Reported HERE

South Korea may have overplayed hand against pirates, critics say

References to the rescue of a crew last week as part of a tougher anti-piracy policy are drawing pledges of retaliation from Somali pirates and raising concern about the safety of those who remain hostages.

The South Korean government's pledge to get tougher on piracy and its self-congratulatory remarks after a military raid last week that freed 21 sailors held hostage by Somali pirates may attract more violence, analysts and critics say.

President Lee Myung-bak's celebratory reference to the raid as part of a new anti-piracy policy increasingly waged with high speed boats and attack helicopters and other comments are drawing pledges of retaliation from pirates and concern about the safety of remaining hostages.

Critics say government officials are overplaying the success of the raid Friday in the Arabian Sea to compensate for perceived feeble responses to two fatal incidents last year attributed to North Korea.

Instead of worrying about their public image, South Korean officials should focus on freeing the captain and 43-member crew of the Golden Wave crabbing boat, seized by pirates in October, the critics say.

"It's been a campaign to get credit from voters," Kim Seung-hwan, a professor of international affairs at Myongji University in Seoul, said Wednesday. "The government should be more concerned about the hostages still out there. What is it doing for them? The reaction to the rescue should have been more muted."

South Korean government officials said this week that they had obtained intelligence that Somali pirates had pledged to attack more South Korean ships in light of last week's rescue of the chemical carrier Samho Jewelry. Eight pirates were killed and five captured in the top secret mission, during which the captain of the carrier suffered a gunshot wound.

A man who identified himself as a pirate told Reuters that the deaths would be avenged. "We shall never take a ransom from Korean ships," the pirate said, according to the news agency. "We will burn them and kill their crew."

Critics say the government has offered too many details of its rescue tactics in news reports that will help pirates planning future attacks.

"The military has told of all of its strategies and that certainly won't be helpful should another hostage rescue arise," Kim said.

More than 3,000 people have signed an online petition calling for more to be done to gain the release of the remaining hostages. Some want the government to swap the five captured Somalis for the crew of the Golden Wave, but the government dismisses prospects for such a deal, calling the two hijackings unrelated.

The Golden Wave has been used as a mother ship by the pirates in several other attacks, according to South Korean news reports.

The wife of Golden Wave captain Kim Dae-geun, who declined to give her name, said the government had refused to help meet the pirates' ransom demand, which she said had dropped from $6 million to $600,000. She fears for her husband's safety and asks why officials would risk a military assault to free the crew of one vessel and not the other.

"I am very anxious, and worry that pirates may give him an even harder time," she said, according to South Korean reports. "I'd like to try calling them [via a negotiation line with the abductors], but the pirates are very sensitive now so I can't even call."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pirates Breach Safe Room

As Reported HERE 

As you can see in this article, the crew had fled to the safe room, and the pirates were able to breach the safe room and take control,
Though the safe room is a valuable tool in anti-piracy, it surely can not be relied upon as the sole protection for the crew. 

Pirates Seize Beluga Project-Cargo Vessel

Ship 'in severe distress and danger,' shipowner says
Pirates off the coast of Somalia captured a German multipurpose vessel with 12 men on board.
The Beluga Nomination, belonging to Bremen-based Beluga Shipping, was traveling from Malta to the port of Masan in South Korea when it was seized Jan. 22 some 800 nautical miles north of the Seychelles, Beluga Shipping said today. The crew of the ship comes from Poland, Ukraine, Russia and the Philippines, the company said.
The Beluga Nomination, built in 2006, is a 9,821 deadweight-ton, multipurpose heavy-lift project-cargo vessel.
Pirates hijacked a record 53 ships and 1,181 crew members in 2010, most of them off Somalia, according to the London-based International Maritime Bureau.
While distress calls were made by the crew to the European anti-pirate mission Atalanta, no warships were in the area at the time, Beluga said.
The ship "is in severe distress and danger," said Beluga, which transports heavy-lift project cargo for the offshore oil and gas industry and to sea-based wind-energy projects.
The crew was able to flee to a security room within the ship when the pirates attacked. Their captors eventually managed to break into the room and take control of the ship, which is now sailing toward Somalia, Beluga said.

Korean UDT Anti Piracy Training:

January 22, 2011

S. Korean Navy's Special Forces Conduct Anti-Piracy Training

Rigid inflatable boats with fully armed special forces chase after a ship speeding away. 
The troops promptly board the ship that is being hijacked by pirates.

This is part of the anti-piracy training that the Korean Navy's special forces conduct daily.
"The Underwater Demolition Team conducts anti-terrorism training to deal with possible threats that could happen in the sea. Today's exercise is based on a hypothetical situation of saving a ship and its crew that has been hijacked by pirates." 

A Lynx combat helicopter armed with snipers approaches the vessel while other soldiers descend from a transport chopper onto the deck.
About 30 special forces are involved in these daily open sea exercises near Pyeongtaek naval base, south of Seoul.
"Special forces from the air and sea successfully landed on the hijacked ship and they will now be heading to the steering house to capture the pirates and save the hostages." 

After searching for hostages the troops then locate the ship's bridge.
The door fly opens and the troops storm inside. 

"Drop your weapons, put your hands up, everybody kneel down!"
The troops then successfully capture the pirates one by one and save the hostages.

The training is aimed at safely saving the lives of civilians as well as sending a message to the rest of the world that Korea will not tolerate threats from pirates.
"The Korean Navy's Underwater Demolition Team was able to complete the rescue operation successfully in Somali waters through this daily anti-piracy training. And we will not tolerate any threats towards the lives and security of Korean citizens."

Beluga Nomination Crew in Safe Room

As Reported HERE

Somali Parliament Blocks Piracy Bill

As Reported HERE
Somali parliament blocks piracy bill

MOGADISHU — Somali lawmakers on Tuesday blocked a bill criminalising piracy which was proposed by the justice minister to pave the way for a local tribunal.

The bill finalised last week by the government is meant to beef up Somalia's legal arsenal in prosecuting and detaining pirates, who have so far been mainly tried abroad.

"We ask lawmakers to endorse this bill against piracy which will help change conditions for many Somali youths who are serving prison terms outside the country," Justice and Religious Affairs Minister Abdullahi Abyan Nur said.

Nur said the law would be a major step in combating piracy, which soared to record levels last year, with sea-jackers dodging an armada of foreign warships to capture dozens of vessels and make hundreds of seamen hostage.

But severals lawmakers challenged the bill during a heated debate in the Somali capital and forced a revision of the document.

"This text on the punishment of pirates is not compatible with Islam and therefore cannot be approved," Mohamed Mohamoud Heyd, a member of parliament, said.

"It isn't necessary either at this point because the pirates are also fighting the foreign ships that are plundering our fish and other marine resources," he added.

Several other MPs voiced the same opinion and the vice president of parliament adjourned the session by instructing a 15-member committee to amend the bill within five days.

Suspected Somali pirates are currently on trial in Kenya and the Seychelles, which have both signed deals with foreign navies for the prosecution of piracy suspects, as well as in several Western countries.

Monday, January 24, 2011

MV Beluga Nomination Hijacked

As Reported HERE
The Somali pirates have hijacked the MV Beluga Nomination ship (the flag of Antigua and Barbuda, operator Beluga Fleet Management GmbH based in Germany) with Ukrainians on board near the Seychelles.
Ukrainian News learned this from a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
According to a statement by the Ukrainian Embassy in Britain, the MV Beluga Nomination ship was hijacked 100 kilometers away from the Seychelles in the Arabian Sea.
The crew of the ship comprises 12 members: citizens of Ukraine, Russia, the Philippines, and Poland.
The Consulate General of Ukraine in Hamburg (Germany) is finding out how many citizens of Ukraine are aboard.
The statement reads that the Consulate General of Ukraine in Hamburg and the Embassy of Ukraine in Kenya have received orders to establish contacts with the operator and to follow the development of the situation.
The case is under special control of the consular service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Somali pirates regularly hijack ships, including ship with Ukrainian citizens aboard.

Pirates Threate to Kill Korean Hostages

As Reported HERE

Somali Pirates Threaten to Kill Korean Hostages

Somali pirates on Sunday threatened to kill any Korean sailors they take hostage in the future in revenge against the Korean Navy killing eight pirates on Friday when it stormed a hijacked vessel in the Indian Ocean to rescue the crew.

"We never planned to kill but now we shall seek revenge," a pirate who identified himself as Mohamed told Reuters by phone. "We shall never take a ransom from Korean ships, we shall burn them and kill their crew."

"We shall redouble our efforts. Korea has put itself in trouble by killing my colleagues," he added. The pirate is reportedly from Garad, one of the two pirate havens in Somalia.

After the Cheonghae Unit rescued the freighter Samho Jewelry, Somali pirates took some hostages from hijacked ships to an inland camp for fear of similar operations by other foreign navies, according to a pirate who identified himself as Hussein.

Observers speculate that they include the crew of the Korean fishing boat Keummi 305, which was hijacked last November and whose 43 members include two Koreans.
As we posted earlier, we could see a change in pirate tactics. This article is an indication of that change, by taking crew members to shore and now the threat to kill hostages, tactics are changing. We will see if the on the water tactics will change also. It should be noted, that in the video of the original article, it appears that there were no visible defensive measures present on the vessel such as wire or fencing. This may have helped the boarding team to access the vessel, but it also did nothing to prevent the pirates from boarding in the first place. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pirate-Fighting Tactics May Change

As Reported HERE

Pirate-fighting tactics may change after raids

ALTERNATIVE CROP - In this photo released by the Arabian Navy via Yonhap, South Korean naval special forces approach and board the South Korean cargo AP – ALTERNATIVE CROP - In this photo released by the Arabian Navy via Yonhap, South Korean naval special …

NAIROBI, Kenya – Two daring commando raids by two nations in one day against Somali pirates show that some naval forces are taking a harder line, perhaps because nothing else they've tried has stopped the rise of lawlessness off the east coast of Africa.
The raids by South Korea and Malaysia on Friday could be a sign of more aggressive tactics to come — both by navies and by pirates responding to them. Experts say pirates could increasingly use hostages as human shields by pirates if raids become more common.
The European Union's naval force refuses to raid hijacked ships out of concern for the safety of hostages, but frustration is rising. Despite patrols by an international flotilla of modern warships, drones patrolling the Indian Ocean off the east African coast and Arabian Gulf and diverse strategies employed including the sinking of pirate boats, Somali pirates have been relentless.
They captured a record 1,016 hostages in 2010 and currently hold 32 vessels and 746 crew members of various nationalities after hijacking another six ships so far this year, according to a recent report by the International Maritime Bureau.
Eight crew members died and 13 were wounded in Somali pirate incidents in 2010, up from four dead and 10 wounded in 2009. There were no pirate killings elsewhere in the world in 2010.
The bureau said Somali pirates are operating more broadly than ever, from Oman on the Arabian Peninsula to Mozambique, more than 2,500 miles away in southeastern Africa. It also said navies have been more reluctant to intervene because pirates are using hijacked vessels to catch new prey.
Somalia's long lawless coastline snakes around the Horn of Africa and provides the perfect base for pirate dens. The country has not had a functioning government since a socialist dictatorship collapsed in 1991, plunging the nation into clan-based civil war.
South Korean commandos raided a cargo ship in the Arabian Sea before dawn Friday, killing eight Somali pirates and capturing five as they rescued all 21 crew members. The only crew member injured was the captain, who was shot in the stomach by a pirate; South Korea's military said his condition was not life-threatening.
A 4 1/2-minute video released Sunday by South Korea's military shows commandos in a small boat readying to climb onto the freighter amid gunshots. Later the commandos are seen trying to enter a door and then bringing out some hostages, with a navy helicopter shining searchlights on the vessel.
The video also shows several captured Somali pirates kneeling on the ship as South Korean soldiers carrying rifles stand nearby. The video, taken by a nearby South Korean destroyer, shows the 1,500-ton chemical carrier Samho Jewelry pockmarked with bullet holes.
Their success came on the same day that Malaysia's navy successfully rescued a chemical tanker and its 23 crew members from Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. No one in the rescue team or the ship's crew was injured and seven pirates were apprehended.
Alan Cole, the head of the U.N.'s anti-piracy program at the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, said the South Korean and Malaysian navies may have resorted to using the commando raids out of frustration that other strategies employed to tackle piracy were not working.
"There is a good chance that navies will increase the numbers of patrols and step up military activity to try and deal with this problem," he said.
Before Friday, some raids had been launched by other countries to save ships boarded by Somali pirates within hours of the attacks or after being assured that crew members were locked in safe rooms.
The Malaysian raid followed that approach: It occurred soon after the pirates attacked and after the crew made it to a safe room. But the South Korean raid happened a week after the Samho Jewelry was captured; it was unclear whether any of that ship's crew had reached a safe room but clearly the captain had not.
"The tradition has been to hang back and let the pirates take the ships back to Somalia. I think they decided to take tougher line purely because the pirates are becoming more daring," said David Johnson, a director at the U.K.-based risk management firm Eos.
Pirates will likely change tactics and use hostages as human shields if navies start resorting to raids, Johnson said. But he added the pirates probably would not become brutal with captives.
The EU Naval Force, which has four ships patrolling the water off the horn of Africa, said Saturday it will not raid hijacked ships because such action could further endanger hostages' lives.
EU Naval Force spokesman Wing Cmdr. Paddy O'Kennedy said any time EU naval forces get too close to hijacked ships, Somali pirates have threatened to kill the hostages.
The danger of navies conducting raids on hijacked ships was illustrated by the April 2009 death of French skipper Florent Lemacon, who had been held hostage off the Somali coast in a sailboat with four other hostages.
A raid by French commandos led to an exchange of fire with the pirates that left Lemacon dead. An inquiry found that Lemacon had been killed by a French military bullet.
The maritime bureau says there was drop in the number of attacks in the Gulf of Aden, leading to the Suez Canal, because of patrols by the international flotilla warships. Attacks in that area fell more than 50 percent, from 117 in 2009 to 53 in 2010.
O'Kennedy said the real solution to ending piracy lies in creating peace and stability on land.
The weak, U.N.-backed Somali government, however, has been too tied up fighting an Islamist insurgency to fight piracy. A series of corrupt and ineffective governments plundered government coffers, leading to widespread desertions when soldiers went unpaid.
Associated Press writer Hyung-Jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Korea Rescues Samho Jewelry

As Reported HERE

South Korea rescues Samho Jewelry crew from pirates

Samho Jewelry (file image) The rescue mission took place about 1,300km (800 miles) off the Somali coast
South Korean navy commandos have stormed a cargo ship which had been seized by pirates in the Arabian Sea.
All 21 crew members of the South Korean-owned Samho Jewelry were rescued, said Col Lee Bung-woo, of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The navy said eight pirates had been killed and five captured.
South Korea is part of a multinational anti-piracy patrol in the area - it despatched a warship after the vessel was seized on Saturday.
The rescue raid took place about 1,300km (800 miles) off the coast of Somalia.
The Yonhap news agency said the Choi Young destroyer had approached the Samho Jewelry after the pirates left the vessel to hijack a Mongolian ship nearby.
"Three of our soldiers suffered light scratches on their bodies as they were fired upon by pirates on Tuesday," said Col Lee.
"Our Lynx helicopter immediately returned fire and several pirates fell into the waters."
Another officials said eight pirates had been confirmed dead.
Col Lee said the captain of the ship had suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach but his condition was not life-threatening.
Record ransom In a televised statement, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said: "We will not tolerate any behaviour that threatens the lives and safety of our people in the future."
South Korean warship the Choi Young The Choi Young was despatched to track down the ship and rescue the crew
The 11,500-tonne Samho Jewelry was carrying chemicals from the United Arab Emirates towards Sri Lanka when it was hijacked in the waters between Oman and India.
Its crew was made up of eight South Koreans, two Indonesians and 11 Burmese.
The Gulf of Aden, between Yemen and Somalia, is one of the world's busiest shipping routes and has become a hotspot for pirate attacks.
Last year, Somali pirates received a record ransom of $9.5m (£5.8m) after seizing another ship owned by Samho Shipping.
The Samho Dream supertanker had been hijacked in the Indian Ocean in April.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vietnamese Ship HiJacked

As Reported HERE
Somali Pirates Hijack Vietnamese Owned Ship
    2011-01-20 20:28:27     Xinhua      Web Editor: Liu
Somali pirates are believed to have hijacked Vietnamese owned bulk carrier with 24 crew members, approximately 520 nautical miles southeast of the port of Muscat, Oman, EU anti-piracy taskforce said on Thursday.
EU Naval Force spokesman Paddy O'Kennedy did not say when the 22,835-tonne MV Hoang Son Sun was seized with all Vietnamese nationals.
"No further details of the attack are known at this stage," O' Kennedy said in a statement.
He said the Mongolian flagged vessel was not registered with the Maritime Security Center- Horn of Africa (MSCHOA), which provides a service to mariners in the Gulf of Aden, the Somali Basin and off the Horn of Africa MSC (HOA) and had not reported to UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO).
There are now 30 vessels and 724 hostages being held by Somali pirates.
The world piracy body (IMB) reported early in the week that the number of pirate attacks against ships rose in each of the past four years.
Ships reported 445 attacks in 2010, up 10 percent from 2009. While 188 crew members were taken hostage in 2006, 1,050 were taken in 2009 and 1,181 in 2010.
According to IMB, hijackings off the coast of Somalia accounted for 92 percent of all ship seizures last year, with 49 vessels hijacked and 1,016 crew members taken hostages.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Change in Piracy Tactics

While working on the water in maritime security, we are consistently looking for ways in which pirates have been evolving in their tactics. Some time ago, a pamphlet was produced describing various ways that small skiffs would line up across a shipping lane under the control of a “mothership” in order to scout and, if the opportunity presented itself, attack. Over the past year, we have come to understand that these ships are much more mobile—but still operating in roughly the same manner. This generally involved the skiff making some kind of pass at the ship and then moving from the scouting / observing phase onto an attack phase that involved a range of weapons being used—the most common being the RPG and the AK-47.
On the morning of January 19th, 2011 in the area around 18 31 N 57 38 E, our team observed something much different. The facts, as determined by direct contact with our security team on board the vessel, began with the observation of a RHIB approaching from dead astern at very high speed (in the neighborhood of between 35 knots and 40 knots based on estimation). The security team followed its standing operating procedures and the approaching RHIB broke away and withdrew upon the initial display of preparedness and force.
There are two elements here that are crucial. First, this is obviously a different kind of that is designed for speed. It is also a reasonably high-value item (in terms of relative rarity) that one would expect not to be wasted or put at too much risk. The second is in how the attack itself was conducted and terminated. If this was an attempt at intimidation (in order to stop the vessel), the chances are that weapons, or even firing given the history over the past week, would have been involved. In this case, it was a high speed approach from an area that would be less likely to be observed under standard watch keeping practices. This is much more likely to involve the identification and testing of the security posture of the vessel—as well as the coherence of the response.
So, what does this mean? It means that we in the industry need to remain sharp and continuously review our own practices. This is a natural part of what we do and what we have found that most credible security companies do. What this has shown us is that the other side of this equation is doing the same

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pirates Take Record Number of Hostages in 2010

As Reported HERE
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Pirates took a record 1,181 hostages in 2010 as ship hijackings in waters off Somalia escalated, a global maritime watchdog said Tuesday.
Attackers seized 53 vessels worldwide last year — all but four off the coast of Somalia — according to the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur.
The number of hostages and vessels taken "are the highest we have ever seen" since the center began monitoring attacks in 1991, its director, Pottengal Mukundan, said in a statement. "The continued increase in these numbers is alarming," he said.
The Somali attacks accounted for 1,016 hostages held for ransom, the center said. Somali pirates are currently holding 31 vessels and 713 crew members of various nationalities after hijacking another four ships so far this year, it said.
Somalia's position on the Horn of Africa means pirates can use its long coastline to capture ships. The country has not had a functioning government since a dictatorship collapsed in 1991, and an international flotilla of warships patrolling the waters has struggled to prevent hijackings.
The naval patrols have foiled many attacks, but pirates are moving farther offshore to boost their success in hijackings, the piracy reporting center said.
"All measures taken at sea to limit the activities of the pirates are undermined because of a lack of responsible authority back in Somalia," it said in its statement.
Overall, there were 445 pirate attacks worldwide last year, a 10 percent rise from 2009, the center said. Eight crew members died — all attributed to Somali pirates.
Violent attacks and armed robberies were also notable in Indonesian waters, where 30 vessels were boarded. Bangladesh had 21 vessels boarded, mainly by attackers armed with knives at the port of Chittagong, while Nigeria had 13, mostly near the port of Lagos.

Monday, January 17, 2011

MV Eagle Hijacked

As Reported By EU NavFor

In the early hours of Monday 17 January, the bulk carrier MV EAGLE was attacked and pirated by a single skiff, with pirates firing small arms and a Rocket Propelled Grenade before boarding the vessel.
 The attack occurred in the Gulf of Aden, 490 nautical miles South of Salalah, Oman. There has been no contact with the ship since the attack.
The MV EAGLE which is Cypriot flagged and Greek owned, has a deadweight of 52,163 tonnes and a crew of 24 Filipinos and was on passage from Aqabar (Jordan) to Paradip (India) when it was attacked. There is no information concerning the condition of the crew.  EUNAVFOR is monitoring the situation.
EUNAVFOR 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. In addition, EUNAVFOR monitors fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Two Hijackings in 24 Hours

As Reported HERE

Somali Pirates Hijack Two Tankers Within 24 Hours Off Somali Shore

Pirates armed with machine guns hijacked a Norwegian chemical tanker Thursday off the coast of Somalia, the ship's owner said, an attack that came less than 24 hours after a smaller Greek-owned vessel was seized in the same area.

The U.S. 5th Fleet, which patrols the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden, confirmed both hijackings and said they took place in the same area but separate from the gulf, one of the world's busiest — and now most treacherous — sea lanes.

The 23,000-ton Norwegian-owned Bow Asir was captured 250 miles off the Somali coast on Thursday morning, and the 9,000-ton Greek-owned Nipayia, with 19 crew members, was seized 450 miles off Somalia on Wednesday afternoon, the European Union's military spokesman said.

Both vessels are chemical tankers but their cargoes were not immediately made public.

Cmdr. Jane Campbell of the U.S. 5th fleet said both hijackings took place in a vast Indian Ocean expanse of over 750,000 square miles.

"This activity highlights the complexity of even trying to monitor an area this size," she said.

She said pirates also tried to hijack another Panamanian-flagged boat Wednesday but the crew fought off them off by speeding away and using fire hoses.

Norway's shipowners association said the Bow Asir had a crew of 27 with a Norwegian captain, but the 5th Fleet said there were 23 crew on board. Fleet spokesman Lt. Nate Christensen said the Norwegian ship was Bahamian-flagged.

A Nairobi-based diplomat said the Nipayia had 18 Filipinos on board and a Russian captain. He said the ship is managed by Athens-based Lotus Shipping, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

The owner of the Bow Asir, Salhus Shipping AS, said it received a security alert from the ship Thursday morning saying it was being chased by two small boats with suspected pirates. Sixteen minutes later, the ship's captain reported that pirates had boarded the vessel.

Three hours later, the shipping company received an e-mail from the Bow Asir confirming that 16 to 18 pirates carrying machine guns had gained control, managing director Per H. Hansen said in a statement.

"We have no reports of any injuries," he said. "We are doing our utmost to ensure the safety of the crew."

Late Thursday, Bow Asir was heading northwest in the direction of Somalia, according to the Norwegian Shipowners' Association.

"We have no information about any demands from the pirates yet," spokesman Haavard Aagesen. "Our main concern now is the crew members and their families."

Pirate attacks off the Somali coastline hit unprecedented levels in 2008, when pirates made 111 attacks and seized 42 vessels, mostly in the Gulf of Aden.

Seven ships have been seized so far this year, although there were roughly 10 times as many attacks in January and February 2009 as there was over the same period last year. There have been almost daily attacks in March.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since clan-based militias overthrew a socialist dictator in 1991 and then turned on each other.

Also Thursday, NATO announced its anti-piracy flotilla of five ships was resuming patrols off the Horn of Africa, joining at least 20 warships from the EU, the U.S., China, Russia and other navies that are trying to stop pirate attacks there.

Graeme Gibbon Brooks, founder of London-based private security company Dryad Maritime Intelligence, said the latest hijackings showed that the Somali pirates were moving their area of operations into the Indian Ocean.

"The coalition have put so much pressure on the Gulf of Aden that the pirates are popping up everywhere else," he said. "Because the area is that much bigger, it will be more difficult for the coalition to achieve the same amount of success as they have in the Gulf of Aden."

Source: The Associated Press