Monday, February 28, 2011

Ships Held by Somali Pirates as of March 1st, 2011

As Reported HERE

Factbox: Ships held by Somali pirates


Here are details on ships held by Somali pirates:
* SOCOTRA 1: Seized on Dec. 25, 2009 in the Gulf of Aden. Yemeni-owned ship had six Yemeni crew.
* ICEBERG 1: Seized on March 29, 2010. Roll-on roll-off vessel captured 10 miles from Aden. Crew of 24.
* JIH-CHUN TSAI 68: Taiwanese fishing vessel seized on March 30. Crew of 14: Taiwanese captain, two Chinese and 11 Indonesians.
* RAK AFRIKANA: Seized on April 11. The St. Vincent and the Grenadines-flagged 7,561-dwt cargo ship was taken 280 miles west of the Seychelles.
* Three Thai fishing vessels -- PRANTALAY 11, 12 and 14 -- hijacked on April 17-18. Total of 77 crew.
* TAI YUAN 227: Taiwanese fishing boat seized on May 6: 24 crew -- nine Chinese, three Vietnamese, three Filipinos, seven Kenyans and two from Mozambique.
* AL-DHAFIR: Seized on May 7. Fishing boat seized off Yemen. Seven Yemeni crew.
* SUEZ: Seized on Aug. 2. Panama-flagged cargo ship hijacked in the Gulf of Aden. Carrying cement. Crew of 23 all from Egypt, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India.
* OLIB G: Seized on Sept. 8. Maltese-flagged merchant vessel with 18 crew -- 15 Georgians, three Turks.
* ASPHALT VENTURE: Seized on Sept. 29: The 3,884-dwt bitumen carrier was heading to Durban from Mombasa. Crew of 15 Indians.
* YORK: Seized on Oct. 23. Singapore-flagged, Greek managed, 5,076-dwt LPG tanker seized 50 miles from Mombasa. Ship empty after discharging cargo in Mombasa. Crew of 17 -- German master, two Ukrainians, 14 Filipinos.
* CHOIZIL: Seized on Oct. 26. South-African-owned yacht was hijacked after leaving Dar es Salaam. European Union anti-piracy task force rescued one South African but two other crew members were taken ashore and held as hostages.
* AL-NASSR: Seized Oct. 28. Motorised dhow captured off Yemeni island of Socotra.
* POLAR: Seized on Oct 30: Liberian-owned Panama-flagged 72,825-tonne tanker seized 580 miles east of Socotra. Crew of 24 -- one Romanian, three Greeks, four Montenegrins, 16 Filipinos.
* HANNIBAL II: Seized on Nov. 11. Panama-flagged chemical tanker was taken 860 miles east of Horn of Africa. The 24,105-tonne vessel was sailing to Suez from Malaysia carrying vegetable oil. Crew of 31 -- 23 Tunisians, four Filipinos, a Croat, a Georgian, a Russian and a Moroccan.
* YUAN XIANG: Seized on Nov. 12. Chinese-owned cargo ship captured off Oman. Crew of 29 Chinese.
* ALBEDO: Seized on Nov. 26. Malaysian-owned cargo vessel was taken 900 miles off Somalia as it headed for Mombasa from UAE. Crew of 23 from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Iran.
* JAHAN MONI: Seized on Dec. 5. Merchant ship was 1,300 miles east of Somalia en route from Indonesia to Greece carrying nickel ore. Crew of 26.
* PANAMA: Seized on Dec. 10: Liberian-flagged container ship en route from Tanzania to Beira. Crew of 23 from Myanmar.
* RENUAR: Seized on Dec. 11: Liberian-owned bulk cargo vessel, 70,156 dwt, captured en route to Fujairah from Port Louis. Crew of 24 Filipinos.
* ORNA: Seized on Dec. 20: The Panama-flagged bulk cargo vessel, 27,915 dwt, owned by the United Arab Emirates, was seized 400 miles northeast of the Seychelles.
* THOR NEXUS: Seized on Dec. 25: Thai-registered 20,377-dwt bulk carrier was hijacked 350 miles off Oman. Crew of 27 Thais.
* SHIUH FU NO 1: Seized Dec. 25, 2010: Somali pirates appeared to have seized the Taiwanese-owned fishing vessel near the northeast tip of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. The vessel had a crew of 26 Taiwanese, Chinese and Vietnamese nationals.
* EMS RIVER: Seized on Dec. 27: The Antigua and Barbuda-flagged ship 5,200-dwt cargo vessel had about eight crew and was captured in the Gulf of Aden en route to the Suez Canal.
* VEGA 5: Seized before Dec. 31: Somali pirates hijacked the 140 dwt Mozambican-flagged fishing vessel about 200 miles southwest of the Comoros. There were two Spaniards, three Indonesians and 19 Mozambicans on board.
* BLIDA: Seized on Jan. 1, 2011: The 20,586-tonne Algerian-flagged bulk carrier was seized about 150 miles southeast of Salalah, Oman. The ship, with 27 crew from Algeria, Ukraine and the Philippines, was heading to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from Salalah with a cargo of clinker.
* EAGLE: Seized on Jan. 17: The 52,163-tonne Greek-owned merchant vessel was en route to India from Jordan when it was seized. It had a crew of 24 Filipinos. 
* HOANG SON SUN: Seized on Jan. 19: The 22,835-tonne bulk carrier, which is Mongolian flagged and Vietnamese-owned and had a crew of 24 Vietnamese nationals, was seized about 520 nautical miles southeast of the port of Muscat. 
* BELUGA NOMINATION: Seized on Jan. 22. The 9,775-dwt cargo ship was boarded about 800 miles off the Seychelles. Owned by the Bremen-based Beluga Shipping, it is Antigua and Barbuda flagged. Crew comprised a Polish captain and seven Filipino, two Russian and two Ukrainian seamen.
* SAVINA CAYLYN: Seized on Feb. 8: The 104,255-dwt tanker, Italian-flagged and owned, was on passage to Malaysia from Sudan when it was attacked 670 miles east of Socotra Island. It had five Italians and 17 Indians on board. 
* IRENE SL: Seized on Feb. 9: The U.S.-bound oil tanker was carrying about 2 million barrels of Kuwaiti crude oil, worth $200 million at market prices, when it was seized off the coast of Oman. The Greek-owned and flagged 319,000-dwt tanker carried seven Greeks, 17 Filipinos and one Georgian on board.
* SININ: Seized on Feb. 12: The Maltese owned and registered bulk carrier was seized with a crew of 23 -- 13 Iranian and 10 Indian nationals -- in the North Arabian Sea. The 53,000 dwt vessel was on route to Singapore from Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.
* DOVER: Seized on Feb. 28: It was taken about 260 nautical miles north east of Salalah in Oman. The Panamanian flagged, Greek owned vessel was on its way to Saleef (Yemen) from Port Quasim (Pakistan) when it was attacked. The crew consists of three Romanians, one Russian and 19 Filipinos.

UAE Shipping Assoc. Reverses Position on Armed Secrutiy

As Reported HERE

Pirates could face armed seafarers

DUBAI // The UAE Shipping Association (UAESA) has reversed course to back the use of private security guards aboard commercial vessels as the best way to combat increasingly aggressive Somali pirates.
The U-turn comes as the shipping industry worldwide reconsiders its longtime opposition to carrying weapons at sea. Over the past year, pirate presence has spread across the Indian Ocean. Ransom demands are rising, and hostages are being held captive longer.
Last week, pirates killed four American yachtsmen whom they had taken hostage.
"We don't feel protected by the international navies, so we need to take matters into our own hands," said Scott Jones, first vice president of the UAESA, the leading industry body in the nation. "There is still no vessel that has armed guards on board that has been taken. It seems to be the only way we can feel relatively certain," he said.
That stance would hold for as long as the problem persisted, the organisation said in an announcement earlier this month.
"Until an international solution resolving the governance of Somalia is accomplished, the UAESA will support the stationing of trained professional armed security aboard vessels."
Dubai port authorities have implemented "clearance procedures" to allow armed guards, it said.
Since many ports around the world ban weapons, many authorities have had to amend or clarify their policies to allow private security escorts to enter.
In some countries, the authorities meet the vessel several miles out and confiscate their weapons. In Dubai, ships will be required to gain permission for armed escorts and lock up their weapons before entering the port, said Mr Jones.

The Dubai Ports Authority could not be reached for comment, while the ports operator DP World declined to comment.
Earlier this month, the International Chamber of Shipping offered support for the use of armed escorts aboard ships.
"In view of the current crisis in the Indian Ocean ... ship operators must be able to retain all possible options available to deter attacks and defend their crews against piracy.
"Many shipping companies have concluded that arming ships is a necessary alternative to avoiding the Indian Ocean completely," said the ICS, which represents 80 per cent of commercial vessels worldwide, according to its website.
Somali pirates are believed to be in control of 33 vessels and 712 hostages, the International Maritime Bureau said in its latest report. This year alone they are thought to have seized 11 vessels and 224 hostages.
Recent events - in particular the killing of the American yachters - have raised fears of escalating violence by pirates.

Until now, pirates have mostly used hostages as bargaining tools to demand higher ransoms. But after eight pirates were killed during the rescue of a hijacked tanker by a South Korean warship in January, pirates have threatened in future to kill any South Korean hostages.
Armed escorts are increasingly viewed as the safest defence against pirates, but the option comes with drawbacks. "Everybody has concerns," said Mr Jones.
About a quarter of the UAESA board was against the new stance, which supports shipowners who use armed guards but does not urge or require them to do so, he said.
The nascent maritime security industry remains unregulated, even as firms have mushroomed in the past year to capture growing demand. "There are quite a few 'new boys' and we don't really know what their procedures are for vetting their people, what their standard operating procedure would be, what their rules of force would be," said Tim Stear, the regional general manager of Control Risks, which offers armed guards at sea.
Liability remained unclear in the case of injury or death. No case had yet been brought of security guards firing on innocent civilians, and the issues remain untested, he said.
"Nobody can promise - or should promise - that they've got all the answers," he said.


Danish Family Yacht Hijacked

As Reported HERE

Danish family's sailboat hijacked in Indian Ocean

Somali pirates seize Greek ship AFP/File – A pirate stands on a rocky outcrop on the Somali coast. Somali pirates have hijacked a Greek-owned ship …
COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Pirates have hijacked a Danish sailboat with four adults and three children aboard as they were crossing the Indian Ocean, Denmark's government said Monday.
Most hostages captured in the pirate-infested waters off East Africa are professional sailors, not families. Pirates are not known to have captured children before.
The Danish Foreign Ministry said the ship sent a distress signal on Thursday. On board was a Danish couple, their three children — aged 12-16 — and two adult crew members, also Danes.
"It has now been confirmed that the sailboat was hijacked by pirates in the Indian Ocean," the ministry said in a statement.
Two days before the Danish sailboat sent the distress signal, four Americans were killed by Somali pirates in a hostage standoff. They were the first Americans slain by Somali pirates since a wave of attacks began six years ago.
Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen said she was "deeply concerned" about the situation and expressed her sympathies to the Danes on the boat and their relatives.
"It is almost unbearable to think that there are children involved and I can only sharply denounce the pirates' actions," Espersen said.
Government officials will do "everything in our power" to help the Danes, she said, but would not be able to release detailed information about their efforts publicly, "since experience shows that it doesn't help in resolving the case."
Danish news agency Ritzau, citing Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Charlotte Slente, said the boat was believed to be heading toward Somalia.
Earlier Monday, the European Union Naval Force said Somali pirates hijacked a Greek-owned cargo vessel with 23 crew on board.
The MV Dover was seized Monday in the north Arabian sea, 260 miles (420 kilometers) northeast of the Omani port of Salalah, the naval force said. The MV Dover was on its way to Yemen from Pakistan when it was attacked. It was registered with shipping and naval authorities.
There are three Romanians, 19 Filipinos and a Russian aboard the Panama-flagged vessel. There is no communication with the ship and no information regarding the condition of the crew.
In a separate incident, pirates released the MV Izumi on Friday, the naval force said Monday. The Panama-flagged vessel and its Filipino crew of 20 are believed to be making for a safe port. There is no information on the condition of the vessel or the crew. The ship was taken in October.
Somali pirates have extended their range east and south after increased naval patrols in the Gulf of Aden. They hold more than 660 hostages and some 30 vessels. If a vessel's owner is unable to pay the multimillion dollar ransoms the pirates demand, they may keep it and use it to stalk other vessels until they run out of supplies or break down.

Greek Ship Seized by Pirates

As Reported HERE
Somali pirates seize Greek ship with Russian national on board

28.02.2011, 16.20

NAIROBI, February 28 (Itar-Tass) - Somali pirates seized on Monday the Greek dry cargo ship Dover, representatives of the EU Naval Force which fights piracy in the area of the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean within the framework of the Operation Atalanta.
There was one Russian crewmember on board, the sources said. According to them, the dry cargo ship was heading to Pakistan from Yemen and was attacked 260 miles away from the coast of Oman by sea pirates. At the moment contact with the ship has been lost, EU NAVFOR sources said.
There are 23 crewmen on board the ship – one Russian, three Romanians and 19 citizens of the Republic of the Philippines. Pirates yearly earn dozens of millions of dollars received as ransom. According to the non-governmental organisation ECOTERRA International, they currently hold over 50 ships and about 800 seamen.
The priorities of the EU Naval Forces are primarily to protect ships carrying aid for the World Food Programme and secondly to protect vulnerable commercial traffic on this key international trade route. Through advanced surveillance and continuous patrols by ships and aircraft under the auspices of EU, NATO and co-operating nations, pirates from Somalia are often intercepted and disarmed at sea.
According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) based in Kuala Lumpur, last year pirates set a record as to the number of hostage taking episodes. Most of them were seized in the waters washing the Somali coast. The Bureau reports that all in all 445 pirate attacks were fixed last year, which was ten percent more than in 2009. A total of 53 ships were seized, and 1,181 seamen were taken hostage. Eight seamen were killed last year.
Most hostage takings, 92 percent, took place in Somali waters. Nevertheless, owing to the presence of naval ships from different countries in the Gulf of Aden, the number of pirate attacks has declined there by almost half – to 53 from 117 in 2009.
The IMB has warned that the zone of Somali pirates’ activity is expanding in the Indian Ocean, now stretching to Mozambique in the south.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pirates Add Ammo - Men to Hijacked Ships

As Reported HERE

Pirates add ammo, men to ships after 4 US deaths

NAIROBI, Kenya Pirates in Somalia said Wednesday they are ferrying ammunition and men to the 30 hijacked vessels still under their control, and they threatened to kill more captives following the violent end to a hostage standoff that left four Americans dead.
The U.S. military said that 15 pirates detained after the Americans were slain Tuesday could face trial in the United States.
The military, FBI and Justice Department are working on the next steps for those pirates, said Bob Prucha, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command in Florida. The Somalis are currently being held on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, which is in the waters off East Africa.

A pirate aboard the hijacked yacht Quest on Tuesday fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a U.S. warship that had responded to last Friday's hijacking. Then gunfire broke out aboard the yacht. When Navy special forces reached the Quest, they found the four American hostages had been shot and killed.
The FBI is investigating the killings of Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle of Seattle, Washington, and Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, near Los Angeles, who had made their home aboard their 58-foot yacht Quest since December 2004.
The Adams handed out Bibles around the world, but a pirate who gave his name only as Hassan told The Associated Press on Wednesday that played no factor. He said the pirates reacted violently after the U.S. forces blocked the yacht's path.
"We had plans to either take the hostages to the inland mountains or to move onto other hijacked ships because we knew that the U.S. Navy was serious about carrying out a rescue operation," Hassan said. "The hostages pleaded with us not to harm them or take them to dangerous places. They cried when we captured them ... and asked us to release them because they were too old and couldn't endure captivity."
The killings came less than a week after a Somali pirate was sentenced to more than 33 years in prison by a New York court for the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama. That hijacking ended when Navy sharpshooters killed two pirates holding the ship's American captain.
Pirates reacted angrily to the sentencing and have since vowed that they will kill hostages before being captured during military raids and being sent to face trial.
Pirates once were believed to be disgruntled and financially motivated Somali fishermen angry that international trawlers were illegally fishing Somalia's waters. Now criminal gangs dominate the piracy trade, and have begun systematically torturing hostages, including locking them in freezers.
"What we're seeing is that because of the business model the pirates have adopted is so lucrative that you're now getting organized criminal gangs involved as opposed to fishermen who just decided to have a go at piracy," said Wing Commander Paddy O'Kennedy, spokesman for the European Union's anti-piracy force.
"Criminal gangs are more violent than your average fisherman who's turned to piracy," O'Kennedy said.
A pirate in Somalia who gave his name as Adowe Osman Ali said fellow "soldiers" had ferried the reinforcements to hijacked ships in their hands on Wednesday in a bid to deter more hostage rescue attempts. He said after Tuesday's incident, captains of hijacked ships have been ordered to tell navies not to approach or hostages would be killed.
"In the past, 20 or so soldiers used to guard every ship but now the numbers are ranging between 60 and 70 soldiers," said Ali, a pirate in the coastal village of Gara'ad.
"We are more alert than anytime before," he said. "In the past, we allowed the foreign navies to approach us but now we have warned them to not get nearer to us."
Piracy has plagued the shipping industry off East Africa for years, but the violence used during the attacks - and the money demanded in ransoms - have increased in recent months. Pirates now hold some 30 ships and more than 660 hostages.
The average ransom now paid to pirates is in the $5 million range, a huge leap from only three or four years ago when it was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, said Roger Middleton, a piracy expert at the London-based think tank Chatham House. One ransom paid last year was just shy of $10 million.
"It's really gone up, really an enormous amount," Middleton said. "If you think you can get a $9.5 million ransom, I suppose the logic is that you try any means possible to get there, and if that means scaring some crews and owners more, I guess that's what you do," he said, alluding to the recent reports of torture.
Industry experts warned Wednesday it's too soon to say whether the Americans' deaths will require a wholesale change in the way the shipping industry operates along with the militaries patrolling the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.
It's still not known publicly whether prompted a pirate to fire a rocket-propelled grenade at a Navy war ship, and it's unclear whether there was an internal pirate fight or if there had been a hostage escape attempt.
"We don't know what happened yesterday so we're not going to make any knee-jerk decisions," O'Kennedy said. "But our policy remains the same. Nothing is off the table. All options are open to us as a military force."
Pirates blamed the deaths of the American hostages on the U.S. Navy, saying the pirates felt under attack.
"We warned them before that if we are attacked, there would be only dead bodies," said a man who gave his name as Abdirahman Abdullahi Qabowsade. "We have been killed and arrested illegally before, so we can't bear with such attacks anymore. We will respond to any future attacks aggressively."
Associated Press Writer Abdi Guled in Mogadishu, Somalia contributed to this report.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pirates Kill all Four American Hostages

As Reported HERE

US says pirates killed 4 American hostages

WASHINGTON – The U.S. military says pirates killed four American hostages they were holding on a yacht off Somalia's coast.
The U.S. Central Command says negotiations had been under way to try to win release of the two couples on the pirated vessel Quest.
Gunshots were heard; and when U.S. forces reached the yacht, they found four all four hostages had been shot.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Merchant Vessels Disregarding Piracy Threat

As Reported HERE
Merchant Vessels Are Disregarding Piracy Threat

International Maritime Organisation warns of not taking piracy threat seriously
09:35 GMT, February 17, 2011 The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) warns that an “unacceptably high proportion of ships transiting the Gulf of Aden and western Indian Ocean” are not taking the threat of piracy seriously by heeding warnings or taking measures to protect their ships.

In a circular letter to IMO members, the United Nations, intergovernmental, non-governmental and other organizations, the IMO said that naval forces off the coast of Somalia have observed many ships in area that are not registered with the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa; are not reporting to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) Dubai; show no piracy deterrents and are not acting on warnings of pirate activity. At least 25% of commercial ships passing through the Gulf of Aden ignore safety precautions, AllBusiness reported in January.

The IMO noted that as of February 14, 685 crew on board 30 ships are being held for ransom along the Somali coast, which reflects a worsening situation as pirates are expanding their reach into the Indian Ocean, especially through the increasing use of mother ships. The organisation also says that pirate attacks are becoming more violent and that pirates are using captured crew as human shields.

Failure to implement fully the IMO guidance, including the industry-developed best management practices, significantly increases the risk of successful pirate attacks, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) said. Some of the best management guidelines include maintaining a high cruising speed (travelling at 18 knots or more makes it almost impossible for pirates to board), erecting physical barriers and using hoses and foam to deter pirates.

“Regrettably, there is disturbing evidence to show that, in too many cases, this advice has either not reached shipping companies or their ships or has not been acted upon,” the circular letter says. The IMO goes on to urge “all those concerned, particularly Administrations, industry representative bodies, seafarer associations, shipowners and companies to take action to ensure that ships’ masters receive updated information unfailingly and that all the recommended preventive, evasive and defensive measures are fully and effectively implemented”.

The announcement follows the launch on February 3 of the IMO’s anti-piracy action plan, in support of the 2011 World Maritime Day theme: “Piracy: orchestrating the response”. The action plan was launched by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said the escalation of piracy off the Somali coast is “completely unacceptable” and requires urgent action. He welcomed the decision of the IMO to pay special attention to this serious threat during the year ahead.

Also present at the launch was Colonel Richard Spencer, who criticised the shipping industry for in many cases failing to take adequate self-protection measures or assist the co-ordinating naval bodies, even when they had advised authorities they were in the high risk zone. “NATO has taken to phoning up ships within 50 miles of a mothership sighting to warn them of the risk because ships are not reading the warnings they put out. They are sailing blind,” he said. “There is a reason why some flags consistently have the highest number of ships taken. I’m speechless as to why some flag states are not doing more.” He said naval forces had “observed non-compliance” on the ships of the top four flag states, Liberia, Panama, Marshall Islands and Bahamas.

As a result of the continuing piracy scourge, the IMO is encourages governments to provide extra naval and aerial surveillance in piracy affected areas and provide security forces with information on ship movements.

The IMO added that an information distribution facility (IDF) has been created to help security forces operating in the Gulf of Aden and the Western Indian Ocean to build a better picture of where ships are, in order to provide warnings of pirate activity and to facilitate more effective repression of piracy and armed robbery against ships through the more effective deployment of the limited available naval and military resources.

Through the anti-piracy action plan, the IMO aims to strengthen its anti-piracy abilities and expand its reach to create a broader, global effort. The plan has six main goals for 2011 and beyond. These are:

• to increase political pressure to secure the release of hostages;
• to review and improve IMO guidelines and promote compliance with best management practices and the recommended preventive, evasive and defensive measures ships should follow;
• to improve support from and co-ordination with navies;
• to promote anti-piracy co-operation between states and the industry;
• to deter, interdict and bring to justice pirates;
• and to provide care, during the post-traumatic period, for those attacked or hijacked by pirates.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CS Daisy Chased by Pirates

As Reported HERE
By Sunny Lee

BEIJING — A South Korean cargo vessel, which was being chased by pirates in the Gulf of Aden, was rescued by the Chinese navy, China’s state media said.

The CS DAISY was being pursued by multiple speed boats late in the afternoon on Feb. 10, according to the state-run Liberation Army Daily, which reported the incident first.

The vessel radioed for help from a nearby Chinese naval escort group, which dispatched a ship-borne helicopter to protect the Korean ship from pirates until it sailed out of the danger zone, the report said.

An official at the South Korean Embassy in Beijing confirmed the news. A foreign ministry official in Seoul also verified the episode, adding all the crewmembers on the CS DAISY were safe.

The Chinese goodwill operation in the pirate-prone Gulf of Aden came as South Korea was occupied by the case of the 11,500-ton freighter Samho Jewelry, hijacked a month ago by pirates in the same seas off the Somali coast. South Korean naval commandos successfully rescued all 21 crewmembers onboard and retook the freighter.

It is not immediately clear how many crewmembers were onboard the CS DAISY at the time of the incident. The pirates were armed with automatic guns and rocket propelled grenades, the report said.

The naval group was able to offer help to the cargo vessel as the former had just completed its own escort mission earlier in the day and was in the vicinity.

It instructed the frigate Xuzhou, about 40 nautical miles away from the scene of the incident, to act. A helicopter took off from the warship and reached the Korean ship within 20 minutes.

While hovering over the merchant ship, the helicopter sent warnings to the pirate boats as the cargo vessel continued to move away from the pirates.

Although South Korea and China are part of a multinational anti-piracy patrol in the area, the goodwill rescue mission by China was refreshing, given the strained ties the two neighbor countries experienced last year over their differences on how to deal with North Korea.

After the successful mission, the South Korean Navy ship in the region sent a message of appreciation to its Chinese counterpart.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ICS Changes Position on Arming Ships

As Reported HERE
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has changed its position on providing armed security guards to protect merchant ships against pirates.
The ICS Executive Committee, representing national shipowners' associations from over 30 countries, met in London last week. Today it said it had "decided to clarify its stance on the use of private armed security guards" and that ICS members have also "identified a vital need for the military to disable the hijacked 'motherships' which the pirates are now using to launch attacks throughout much of the Indian Ocean."
ICS Chairman, Spyros M Polemis, explained:
"ICS has had to acknowledge that the decision to engage armed guards, whether military or private, is a decision to be made by the ship operator after due consideration of all of the risks, and subject to the approval of the vessel's flag state and insurers. The consensus view amongst shipping industry associations remains that, in normal circumstances, private armed guards are not recommended, and are a clear second best to military personnel. However, in view of the current crisis in the Indian Ocean - with over 700 seafarers held hostage and, most recently, a seafarer being executed - ship operators must be able to retain all possible options available to deter attacks and defend their crews against piracy. Many shipping companies have concluded that arming ships is a necessary alternative to avoiding the Indian Ocean completely, which would have a hugely damaging impact on the movement of world trade.
"The eradication of piracy is the responsibility of governments. Frustratingly, politicians in those nations with the largest military navies in the region show little willingness to increase resources to the extent that would be necessary to have a decisive impact on the problem of piracy. Western governments, at least, appear to give the impression that this otherwise unacceptable situation can somehow be tolerated. Sadly, until we can persuade governments otherwise, the use of armed guards by ships is very likely to continue increasing."
ICS says that the shipping industry will meanwhile be looking at all possible options, including alternative routes, which could have a very dramatic effect on transport costs and delivery times. Piracy is already estimated to cost the global economy between $7-12 billion per year.
If increasing numbers of ships decide to divert around the Cape of Good Hope, this will almost certainly have a major impact on inventories and costs throughout the whole supply chain and, most particularly, on the cost of oil. It could also greatly damage the economies of Africa and the Middle East at this very politically delicate time.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

MV SININ Hijacked

As Reported HERE
On the afternoon of 12 February, the MV SININ is believed to have been pirated approximately 350 nautical miles East of Masirah (Oman) in the North Arabian Sea. 
The vessel, which has a crew of 23 (13 Iranian and 10 Indian nationals), sent out a distress signal, saying she was under attack, late afternoon on Saturday to which an aircraft from the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) immediately responded.  The aircraft photographed 2 suspected pirate skiffs on board the vessel. There has been no communication with the ship since the distress signal was sent and the MV SININ has now changed course towards the Somali coast.  There is no information on the condition of the crew.
The MV SININ is a Maltese flagged and owned Bulk Carrier.  She has a deadweight of 52,466 tonnes and was on route to Singapore from Fujairah (UAE) when she was attacked. The ship was not registered with MSC(HOA) and was not reporting to UKMTO. EUNAVFOR is monitoring the situation.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Four Brits Arrested by Eretria while Conducting Merchant Vessel Protection

As Reported HERE

FOUR former Royal Marines are being held captive in Eritrea accused of spying, The Sun can reveal.

The British security workers were seized eight weeks ago by the African state's navy as they guarded a merchant vessel against piracy.
It is thought they were approached for paperwork before shots were exchanged.
Four were held and are now languishing in a single cell. Two more fled on a boat - but were captured off the coast of Eritrea and left without food or water on a tiny Red Sea island.
The pair were later rescued by colleagues believed to be working for a firm supplying ships with ex-UK military to guard against Somali pirates.
A source said: "It's terrifying. Eritrea is linked by the UN to supplying arms to Islamic fanatics in Somalia. We understand the Foreign Office are struggling to find out even if the four are safe and alive. The fear is they'll be passed to insurgent groups or worse."
The Foreign Office yesterday said: "We can confirm four British nationals are detained in Eritrea."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Investigation: Pirates Operating with Brokers

As Reported HERE
Pirates: Cooperating with brokers?
Wednesday, 09.Feb.2011, 22:10 (GMT+2)

International middlemen were involved in Somali pirates’ hijacking of the Korean freighter Samho Jewelry last month, investigators here have concluded. A spokesman for the Coast Guard said,
International middlemen were involved in Somali pirates’ hijacking of the Korean freighter Samho Jewelry last month, investigators here have concluded. A spokesman for the Coast Guard said,
“We’ve discovered that the pirates worked with the help of brokers of various nationalities.”
“After questioning the pirates who were brought to Korea, we found out that they left Somalia and traveled some 2,000 km to reach the area where they hijacked the Samho Jewelry. They had sailed in a 40-50 ton mother ship on which they carried small boats from a country near Somalia.”
The process was aided by various channels including a broker who provided the route of the freighter, the investigators said.
Kim Du-chan, the boatswain of the Samho Jewelry, said “two or three” of the 13 Somali pirates who hijacked the freighter had also been involved in hijacking another Korean ship, the oil tanker Samho Dream. Their leader frequently exchanged information with brokers via satellite phone.
According to the crew, the pirates were heavily armed with AK-47 rifles, a rocket launcher and a machine gun. Based on their testimony, investigators believed that the pirates do lively business with arms dealers.
The investigation team plans to announce the outcome of a nine-day investigation in a press briefing Monday afternoon. The five pirates and investigation records will be handed over to prosecutors on Tuesday morning.

Greek Tanker Seized

As Reported HERE
ATHENS, Greece – Pirates seized a Greek-flagged supertanker with 25 crew members off the coast of Oman on Wednesday, Greece's Merchant Marine Ministry said.
The Irene SL was sailing 200 nautical miles (360 kilometers) east of Oman with a cargo of 266,000 tons of crude oil and a crew of seven Greeks, 17 Filipinos and one Georgian when it was attacked, the ministry said. It earlier mistakenly identified one of the crew as Ukrainian.
The tanker was sailing from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Mexico. The ministry said authorities had lost contact with the ship since the attack.
The Piraeus-based shipping company First Navigation Special Maritime Enterprises confirmed its ship had been attacked by pirates but had no further comment.
The Irene SL was the second oil tanker to be attacked in that region in two days. On Tuesday, Somali pirates firing small arms and rocket-propelled grenades hijacked an Italian-flagged oil tanker in the Indian Ocean. The tanker had been heading from Sudan to Malaysia.
The pirates boarded the MV Savina Caylyn after a sustained attack by a skiff carrying five suspected pirates, the European Union's anti-piracy task force said Tuesday.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pirates let Five Seafarers Starve to Death

As Reported HERE

Five hostages starved to death on ship hijacked by Somali pirates

The successful apprehension of Somali pirates off Lakshadweep by Indian Navy and Coast Guard on Sunday has brought along a tragic story of hostages.

At least five crew members of the three Thai trawlers hijacked by pirates have been reported to have died of hunger and sickness after the owner of the trawlers refused to pay ransom leading to a 10-month-long hostage crisis.

According to sources, the pirates had hijacked three trawlers, Prantalay-11, Prantalay-12 and Prantalay-14, in April last year off Somalia coast with 49 crew members. The trawlers were going to Djibouti when they were hijacked off Somalia coast.

The pirates demanded a ransom of US$ 9 million from the owner to release the vessels, but the owner refused to pay. “His three trawlers cumulatively cost only US$ 600,000.

The pirates, however, would not relent. This led to a stand-off that stretched for 10 long months, before a Naval operation ended it on Sunday,” said an officer from Yellow Gate police station.

 Strapped of resources, the pirates during this time provided little food to the hostages. “Four crew members on Prantalay-14 fell sick and died due to lack of medical supplies.
One crew member from Prantalay-11, rescued by the Navy and Coast Guard on Sunday, is also reported to have died of the same reason,” the officer said.

The Navy and Coast Guard on January 28 had rescued 20 crew members from Prantalay-14 before sinking it.

In the operation, 15 pirates had been arrested while 10 had died of bullet injuries.


Filipino Seaman Killed by Pirates

As Reported HERE
MANILA, Philippines—Somali pirates have shot and killed a Filipino seaman held captive on a cargo ship near the Indian Ocean country of Seychelles, the Department of Labor reported on Tuesday.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, in a statement, said the pirates shot and killed Farolito Vallega, 48, on January 26 on board the MV Beluga Navigation, a German-owned ship registered in Antigua and Barbuda.
The information was belatedly relayed to the Department of Labor and Employment by the Beluga Nomination’s local manning agency, Marlow Navigation Philippines, Inc.
Baldoz, quoting a preliminary report from Marlow, said Vallega was shot dead by the pirates apparently in a “fit of anger” after an element of the Combined Maritime Forces, the international anti-piracy contingent patrolling the waters of the Gulf of Aden, tried to free the Beluga Nomination and rescue its crew.
The Beluga Nomination was hijacked by Somali pirates off the coast of Seychelles on January 22. The vessel has a 12-member crew, seven of them Filipinos, the rest Polish, Russian and Ukrainian. Vallega served as a bosun or boatswain, which is a non-licensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship.
Of the seven Filipino seafarers, Ferdinand Aquino, 46, a cook, escaped by jumping overboard and was eventually rescued.
Another seaman, Elviro Salazar, 26, a wiper, was reported missing. The four other Filipinos remain captives of the pirates.
Baldoz said that according to Marlow, the captive seamen’s employers continue to negotiate for the release of all hostages and to undertake search and retrieval operation for the missing Salazar and the body of Vallega.
Baldoz, in a statement, condemned the killing. “We express outrage over this senseless disregard for human life and we condemn in the strongest possible terms the atrocity of the Somali pirates. We are also saddened by this tragic incident, and deeply condole with the family and relatives of the deceased Filipino seaman,” she said.
Baldoz added the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration was extending all possible assistance and monetary benefits to Vallega’s family.
She said she has also directed the OWWA to provide the necessary package of assistance to Aquino and his family, to the family of Salazar.
The manning agency was also working on the provision of the death benefits of Vallega and the continued allotment of the wages for the rest of the Filipino seamen.
Baldoz has discussed with its tripartite partners a plan of action containing measures on how to better safeguard and protect Filipino seafarers on board international vessels traversing the pirates-infested waters of the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.
In a meeting last Saturday, officials of the DoLE, OWWA, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Maritime Training Council, the Joint Manning Group and the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines called for firmer, decisive international action against sea piracy.
The meeting reviewed and assessed current anti-piracy procedures and measures to come up with updated action plan on how to provide better protection to Filipino seafarers.
Among the recommendations were for the Department of Foreign Affairs to “strongly urge” the United Nations to review the existing mandate of the multinational forces in the Indian Ocean and empower such forces to take a more proactive role to combat piracy, and to encourage governments, whose flag the pirated ships are flying, to prosecute pirates if and when apprehended by the naval forces.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Alien Abduction Theory?

As Reported HERE

Persons involved in threat and risk assessments for piracy in the Red Sea, have begun an informal betting pool regarding the Chinese vessel Tien Hau. This vessel was reported to have been hijacked (Chinese Embassy) / followed for tracking (Yemen) or rescued after heavy clashes with the pirates (Iran Navy).

The confusion in reporting illustrates what can only be described as the politicization of the reporting process. For this particular vessel seems to have covered all the bases except MAYBE Alien abduction or the widely reported and controversial Star Gate reported in the science fiction community that may have replaced the attacked vessel with a safe vessel from a parallel universe.

On a more serious note, this event provides a clear example as to the importance of following sound information gathering and reporting practices. 

Iranian Navy Fleet Foils Pirate Attack on Chinese Vessel in Red Sea
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian Navy fleet deployed in the Gulf of Aden thwarted a pirate attack on a Chinese trade ship with timely action.

According to a statement issued by the Navy's Public Relations Office on Saturday, the Navy's 12th fleet of warships initiated timely action after it received an alert message from the Hong Kong vessel and managed to thwart the pirates' attack after heavy clashes.

The trade vessel, namely VRYK3, with 32 crews onboard had started its journey from Italy to Australia.

In December, Iran dispatched its 12th fleet of warships to the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

Last week, Commander of the Navy's second naval zone, Rear Admiral Hossein Ashrafi said that Iranian forces had foiled more than 60 attempts against Iran's commercial ships by pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, when Somali raiders hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.

According to UN Security Council resolutions, different countries can send their warships to the Gulf of Aden and coastal waters of Somalia against the pirates and even with prior notice to Somali government enter the territorial waters of that country in pursuit of Somali sea pirates.

The Gulf of Aden - which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea - is an important energy corridor, particularly because Persian Gulf oil is shipped to the West via the Suez Canal.

Chinese Ship NOT Hijacked?

As Reported HERE

Interesting that the Chinese can have such a drastic information difference from Hijacked to Not Hijacked, even after the Yemen authorities have said they launched patrol craft to track the vessel after the hijacking. So what will be the next report?

Chinese-flagged ship not hijacked off Yemen, now safe: Chinese authorities

 SANAA, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- In response to earlier reports that a Chinese-flagged commercial ship was hijacked by Somali pirates off Yemeni coast, the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center (MSA) said Sunday that the ship has never been hijacked, and is now sailing safely with escort of the Chinese anti-piracy navy fleet.
Both the "Tien Hau" ship, which was registered in Hong Kong, China, and its 22-member crew, are safe, a MSA official confirmed to Xinhua over the phone. The center contacted the ship to make sure it was safe, he added.
The ship had been followed by a suspicious boat for a while, but it was never attacked or hijacked, the official said.
Earlier, Yemeni Interior Ministry had said the ship was hijacked by pirates some 20 kilometers off the Yemeni island of Al-Tair off the city port of al-Hudaida, and was heading to Somali coast.
The Gulf of Aden is considered as one of the world's most dangerous waters because of rampant piracy.

Chinese Ship Hijacked

As Reported HERE

Chinese embassy confirms hijack of Chinese-flagged ship by Somali Pirates off Yemen

 SANAA, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Somali pirates hijacked a Chinese-flagged commercial ship off Yemen's western city port of al- Hudaida in the Red Sea, Chinese military attache to Yemen confirmed to Xinhua on Saturday.
The Chinese military confirmed that the Chinese-flagged commercial ship, which was registered in Hongkong, China, had been hijacked by the Somali pirates off the Yemeni coast, Chinese military attache to Yemen told Xinhua.
The ship was then moved by the pirates towards the Somali coasts, he added, without providing how many people were on board or the date of the hijack.
Earlier, Yemeni Interior Ministry said the Chinese ship called "Tien Hau" was attacked by the pirates some 11 nautical miles (20. 4 kilometers) off the Yemeni island of Al-Tair off the city port of al-Hudaida.
Meanwhile, a security source at the ministry told Xinhua "the security operation room of the ministry received unconfirmed information that an anti-piracy international navy fleet might intercept the pirates and help release the Chinese ship."
"We are following up the situation to confirm the release of the Chinese ship, as coast guard boats were dispatched to track the ship and pirates," he told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
"The hijack took place early today, but we do not have exact information about the number of the ship's crew," he added.
The Gulf of Aden is considered as one of the world's most dangerous waters because of rampant piracy.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Piracy Predictive Model Passes Key Benchmark


By Allan McDougall, Evolutionary Security Management, Inc.

We are pleased to announce that the predator-prey model has passed its second benchmark and is now being more fully integrated into our risk assessment processes. This benchmark follows nearly two years of efforts that included the collection of pirate attack data from a wide range of sources, including teams deployed by ISSG Holdings Ltd (a key partner in the effort) and examining that data using two different approaches -- hypothesis testing and exploratory data analysis.

The primary categories and some of the elements involved in the study included the following:

-Environmental conditions (wind, wave, surface pressure and major events)
-The nature of the Pirate Action Group (mothership, skiff, weapons, and boarding tactics)
-The nature of shipping (vessel type, flag, company, past history, and preparedness).
This model combines elements of engineering, navigation and criminology with respect to the above.

While the first benchmark was tied to the collection and analysis of data, the second benchmark was tied to the validation process. This validation process took two forms:

The first involved one group collecting data over three months and testing it for fit.

The second involved taking an independent sample of data to identify correlations and then comparing them to the first set of correlations.

Given the results of this testing, we are moving forward with rolling out the predator-prey model as part of our risk assessment process for our clients and key partners. This is part of our commitment to ensuring that we continue to provide leading edge services.

Those that receive our monthly updates, often through our key partner ISSG Holdings in this exercise, will have received our initial information describing the framework of this model.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pirates Knew Samho Jewelry Route in Advance

As Reported HERE
'Pirates knew Samho route in advance'
Wednesday, 02.Feb.2011, 13:24 (GMT+2)

The group of Somali pirates who hijacked the 11,500-ton Samho Jewelry in the Arabian Sea on Jan. 15 knew in advance the freighter’s route, Korean investigators said Tuesday.
The group of Somali pirates who hijacked the 11,500-ton Samho Jewelry in the Arabian Sea on Jan. 15 knew in advance the freighter’s route, Korean investigators said Tuesday.
On the third day of questioning, a special investigation team, set up at the Coast Guard South Regional Headquarters in Namhae, South Gyeongsang Province, said the 13 Somali pirates ― eight dead and five captured _ specifically targeted the Korean freighter after learning that another ship owned by the same shipping company was released in November last year after paying a huge ransom.
The 300,000-ton Samho Dream was released after being held by Somali pirates for seven months. The company reportedly paid more than $9 million.
``After questioning the five captured Somali pirates brought here for prosecution, we have discovered circumstantial evidence that the pirates specifically went after the Samho Jewelry for a larger sum of money. We think they acquired the information on the Korean freighter in advance and plotted taking it over,’’ a senior official at the investigation team said.
One of five captured pirates stated that the group leader, who was shot dead during the rescue operation by South Korean Navy commandos on Jan. 21, obtained information on the Samho Jewelry and decided to hijack the ship, the official said.
``Where they seized the freighter is more than 2,000 kilometers away from their base. It means that they knew of its route in advance. Our investigation is focused on where and how the pirates acquired such information,’’ he said.
European brokers having access to business-related information of shipping firms have been suspected of providing shipping routes and other data to Somali pirates in return for handsome commissions.
The pirates were also found to have spent 15 days together in a training camp to plot taking over the freighter. Armed with rifles and other weaponry, they rode on a small speedboat and boarded the Samho Jewelry using a ladder.
Since the five pirates were brought to the southern port city of Busan Sunday, they have been grilled by the special investigation team, primarily over how they hijacked the chemical carrier and who shot the 58-year-old captain, who was seriously wounded during the rescue operation. He is currently in intensive care at a hospital in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province. The ship’s other 20 crewmembers were rescued unharmed.
A pirate named Arai Mahomed had stated that he shot the captain Sunday, but later changed his statement, insisting that he was not the one who pulled the trigger. He even said he had never touched a gun in his life.
With Mahomed and four other pirates continuing to deny the allegation, investigators plan to conduct simultaneous questioning with the Korean sailors scheduled to return at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Some of crew had already said in a written statement that it was Mahomed who shot Seok.
As soon as they arrive here, they will be brought to the investigation headquarters and asked to give a statement about the incident, investigators said.
Meanwhile, one of the pirates named Serum Abdullah expressed a desire to live here as a Korean national, one of the interrogators said. Abdullah, who was a cook before becoming a pirate, said Korea seems to be a nice country. Other pirates also reportedly said the detention center is better than most hotels in Africa.