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Update on Pirate Seized Vessels in Somalia, Gulf of Aden and Indian OceanSalem-News.com
(NAIROBI, Kenya) - Today, 11. October 2010, 21h00 UTC, still at least 26 foreign vessels plus one barge are kept in Somali hands against the will of their owners, while at least 454 hostages - including an elderly British yachting couple and the 5 new hostages from Somaliland - suffer to be released.
While a spokesman for the Japanese transport ministry said Monday that the Japanese multi-purpose ship MV ISUMI is being surrounded by pirates in waters off Kenya, EU NAVFOR confirmed finally today that it was sea-jacked already yesterday, allegedly 80nm off the Kenyan coast."We received a report today at about 05:00 pm (0800 GMT)," the Japanese spokesman told AFP.
But the owners of the Panama-flagged MV IZUMI received an automatically released distress signal already Sunday afternoon, indicating that the vessel was likely under attack by pirates, said E.U. Naval Force spokesman Lt. Col. Per Klingvall to AP.
The ship is owned by Japanese shipping company NYK-Hinode Line Ltd. and is flying a flag of convenience from Panama, Jiji Press reported, citing sources from the transport ministry.
Though during the fire on MV SEA EAGLE off the Kenya coast, the navies allegedly weren't around and couldn't help, a Danish warship was sent to investigate and made contact with the Izumi's captain early Monday. He reported that the ship was under pirate control. It is commandeered to Somalia and is already around 170 miles (274 kilometres) south of the Somali capital of Mogadishu, EU NAVFOR stated, which is strange, because such a vessel would need at least 3-4 days to reach that position from Kenyan waters. However, NATO clarified that the capture happened already yesterday at 13h09 UTC in position 01 39S 042 05E, which actually would be inside the Somali waters according to UNCLOS rules and regulations. What that vessel would have to do just off this al-Shabaab administered stretch of the Somali coast is at least questionable.
Also a French warship, which is suddenly in the area, is monitoring the situation as the Izumi heads toward Somalia, said Klingvall, according to AP, who seem to have preferential information status with the U.S. and European navies.
The Izumi is operated by NYK-Hinode Line Ltd.., one of the oldest shiping lines plying the routes from the Far East to East Africa, and was travelling between Singapore and Mombasa, said Yuki Shimoda, an official at Japan's Transport Ministry. The 14,152-ton Izumi is usually carrying spare parts for the motor industry and is manned by an crew of 20 Philippine nationals. While in the years back the company still had Japanese officers on board of their vessel they have now all-Filipino crews, despite the ban by the government of the Philippines to employ their nationals on routes endangered by piracy.
SHIP ATTACK AND WARNING (ecoterra)
Reported by NATO, but not yet independently verified, a merchant vessel was on 11 October 2010 at 18h48 UTC (21h48) reported under attack by five alleged pirates in a skiff in position 09 52 S 04008 E in the so-called Somali basin of the Western Indian Ocean. The precise location is actually just a few nautical miles off the southernmost coast of Tanzania and at the limit of the UKMTO Dubai and MARLO voluntary ship reporting schemes.
This vessel reportedly managed to evade a hijack, but the pirate action group is allegedly still in the area, which is why a warning to all shipping in the area was sounded.
Shifta Kidnap Somali Regional Minister (Harganti-News)Mr.Rage was on an official visit to the coastal town of Gara’ad, about 360km South-east of Garowe, the capital of Puntland.
Heavily-armed pirates on Monday abducted a government minister in Somalia's federal state of Puntland when he went for a meeting in one of their stronghold towns, an official told AFP.
Puntland's fisheries and seaports minister Said Mohamed Rage had travelled to Gara'ad for talks with elders when his convoy was attacked by pirates.
Gara'ad (Garacad) is one of the pirates' bastions along Somalia's north-eastern coast ruled by armed gangs and officials rarely visit the town. Previously, the minister had declared an open war against the pirates in the region, while local sources maintain he has a hand in the dealings.
"We are getting information that the pirates managed to take the minister and several of his security men hostage as he was trying to escape heavy fighting," Mohamed Abdirasak, a Puntland security official, stated.
"We don?t know where the pirates took him but he is in their custody and the security forces are planning a rescue mission," he added.
Local elder Abdirahman Muhidin said clashes erupted between the minister's security guards and dozens of pirates armed with grenade launchers and heavy machine guns.
"They (pirates) overpowered his men and seized the vehicles. We understand that they took him hostage," said Muhidin.
The minister and his convoy were accompanied by at least 7 technicals (4WD battle-wagons) and dozens of armed guards.
Heavily armed pirates had blocked the main road to the town, refusing the minister and his convoy to enter the city. According to local residents an intense gun battle ensued the blockade erected by the pirates.
The minister and his security detail were forced to retreat, eyewitnesses say.
Earlier the region's deputy interior minister Ali Yusuf Ali (Hosh) said Rage's three-vehicle convoy had been ambushed by the pirates who had warned against his visit and blamed the pirates from Puntland and southern Somalia for ambushing the minister and his delegation.
"The pirates later ambushed the minister and his escort again, killing one (guard) and injuring another near Gara'ad..," Ali Yusuf Ali told reporters.
The minister was again ambushed in the town of Jariban - 60km west of Gara’ad. At least 4 local people were wounded in the fighting, two of the Minister’s bodyguards were also killed in the clashes, Horseed media reported.
Later, the minister and his guards surrendered to the pirates after they were encircled in the village of Sallah in Mudug region.
Latest information from the ground reported that the minister had been transported further south.
HIGH-SEAS ATTACK - BUT VESSEL GETS AWAY (ecoterra)
Four pirates armed with AK 47 and RPG chased at 11h15 UTC (14h15 local time) on 10.Oct. 2010 and opened fire on a bulk carrier underway in position 04:59.4N – 067:06.4E, which is in the middle of a straight line between the infamous pirate den of Harardheere at the Somali coast and the Maldives- in the middle of the Western Indian Ocean.
The master enforced all anti piracy measures and contacted the 24 hour IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) for assistance. The Duty officer of this NGO immediately contacted the relevant authorities requesting assistance for crew and vessel and also did broadcast a warning to all ships. Due to effective anti piracy preventive measures onboard the merchant ship, the attacking skiff aborted the attempt. All crew is safe, while the vessel reportedly sustained damages.
Observers and analysts see a pattern since the mid of 2010 with alleged or real piracy cases happening in areas under the jurisdiction of or close to countries, which so far have not been bonded into the naval phalanx and critics remark that this trend actually plays right into the hands of those who clearly support a expansionist trend pushing for more foreign military presence in the region.
Dubious Taiwanese Fishing Vessel Back In Mauritius (ecop-marine)
That the EU NAVFOR command centre of Operation Atalanta in Northwood, UK with all their modern spy-technology like satellites and monitoring long-distance planes as well as a multimillion dollar budget actually did mark the spot of an alleged sea-jacking incident just off the coast of Madagaskar while in reality the vessel was just playing mum north of Mauritius is the joke of the month at the beginning of the piracy season around the Horn of Africa.
A Mauritian radio station said on Friday that a National Coast Guard plane had located the boat heading toward the island.
“The Taiwanese boat established contact with its agent in Mauritius at 8am and the captain said everything is okay,” Radio One reported Saturday, but added: “The agent said he suspects something is fishy, as the boat captain was unable to answer his questions,” Reuters reported.
In Taipei, MOFA spokesman James Chang (章計平) said earlier that the boat was expected to arrive on Sunday at Port Louis, Mauritius, from which it departed on Oct. 1, by noon today, if it does not change its course.
>From information passed on by Tsai Min-jung (蔡旻容), the owner of the shipping company, who made direct contact with the Taiwanese captain Weng Sheng-hsiung (翁聖雄) early Saturday afternoon, Chang said the 14 crew members on board were safe.
CREW OF BURNED KENYAN VESSEL BACK IN MOMBASA (ecop-marine)
The crew of ill-fated T/B SEA EAGLE arrived safely back on Saturday in Mombasa with their vessel in tow by another company tug boat T/B Rhino, because none of the navies helped them. The incident, according to creww members happened 250 nm from the coast and a fire broke out in the engine room.
Only the company responded by allegedly first sending out a helicopter and then the rescue vessel.
The crew comprises of 3 Tanzanians and 9 Kenyans, which had to abandon ship and go into a life-raft, spending the night on the open sea without any support. The crew lost due to the fire also all of their personal belonging and most valuable documents.
The vessel is heavily damaged, but the media were not allowed into the sector of the harbour where the burned vessel and crew landed, who lost everything but their lives.
- YOU ARE PERSISTENTLY BEING LIED TO WITH IMPUNITY
- SOLUTIONS PENDING
- ECOTERRA STATEMENT and
- THE WISH-LISTS FOR THE NAVIES, THE UN AND BAN KI-MOON
READ ALL AND UNDERSTAND AT: http://beforeitsnews.com/story/135118
HOSTAGE CASES UNDER NEGOTIATIONS:
Genuine members of families of the abducted seafarers can call +254-719-603-176 for further details or send an e-mail in any language to office[AT]ecoterra-international.org
Sea-jacked British couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler, aged 59 and 56, were abducted from their 38-ft yacht S/Y LYNN RIVAL, seized October 22, 2009 en route to Tanzania, and are still held in Somalia. The yacht was recovered by the crew of UK naval vessel Waveknight, after they witnessed the transfer of the Chandlers to commandeered MV KOTA WAJAR. The yacht was brought back to England. The elderly couple is now held on land close to Adado, sometimes separated for fear of a commando attack. The case is turning more and more ugly with pirates becoming brutal, politicians ignorant and the financially incapable family intimidated by several sidelines, whose money-guided approach is undermining bids by local elders, human rights groups and the Somali Diaspora to get the innocent couple free. Some humanitarian efforts, however, have succeeded and Somali elders, respected leaders and the Somali Diaspora have renewed their demand for an unconditional release. Latest reports from the ground say that the couple is now treated better, though they often are kept separated for fear of a military rescue attempt. Since the health of both elderly people at the beginning of the year was reportedly deteriorating rapidly relief and medicine has been sent by a humanitarian organization and was received by the couple. Repeatedly rumours were spread concerning attacks, wounding or killing one of the hostages and also about a release managed by the TFG, but all these stories became so far not true. With former British Premier Gordon Brown gone, some believed that the incoming politicians under conservative Premier David Cameron maybe would be more rational and humanitarian minded, would not abandon their citizens but would extend help to solve the appalling case. Unfortunately for the elderly couple in captivity also the new government in the UK made it clear that no ransom would be paid by the British government and British MPs, who had enough and wanted to cut through, were quickly whistled back. Professor Mohamed Omar Dalha, the Minister for Rehabilitation and Social Affairs of the Somali Transitional Federal Government of Somalia had repeatedly been pleading with the hostage takers to release the couple, but to no avail. Also the direct approach by the family seems to have had some not so successful advisers, because an attempt to free the Chandlers mid June 2010 didn't work out, while the family according to Reuters allegedly already lost the 430,000 US$ they had collected by paying that amount blindly to to elders involved in the negotiations, a clan chief told Reuters. The pirates had demanded a $7 million ransom for the couple, but reduced the figure to less than $1 million. Most recently the British officials who still hold a firm grip on the next of kin of the abducted couple, seem to have embarked on a campaign under the motto: "If we can't get them free, nobody else shall!" and concentrated their efforts not on uniting capable people and available resources to get a solution, but to just frustrate any independent effort. Such can be summarized as factual abandonment, though - in order to be fair - it also must be stated very clearly that neither the Transitional Federal Government, be it President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed himself, nor the Prime-Minister or several cabinet-ministers, who all promised to get the hostages free, have achieved anything. Likewise the Somali Diaspora, who apparently collected money, which now is said to have disappeared, did also not proof to be helpful. With next of kin in retreat, the British government blocking, officials incapable, the media gagged and even friends helpless, the changes of the Chandlers look bleak, while fundamentalist Al-Shabaab are approaching the area where they are held. The last proof of life from the couple dates from mid September 2010.
MV SOCOTRA 1: Seized December 25. 2009. The vessel carrying a food cargo for a Yemeni businessman and bound for Socotra Archipelago was captured in the Gulf of Aden after it left Alshahir port in the eastern province of Hadramout. 6 crew members of Yemeni nationality were aboard. Latest information said the ship was commandeered onto the high seas between Oman and Pakistan, possibly in another piracy or smuggling mission. 2 of the original crew are reportedly on land in Puntland. VESSEL STILL MISSING and/or working as pirate ship.
FV AL-SHURA (AL-SHUVAL?): Seized after February 20, 2010 and most likely on 25th February with one of 9 the Yemeni sailors being killed by the Somali pirate-attackers. Allegedly the pirates now left the vessel and the dhow was returned to her owner, but independent confirmation is still awaited from Yemen. A similar dhow named AL-SHUVAL was said to have be moored off Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian ocean coast off Somalia until recently and is now observed at Dhanaane.
BB AL-NISR-AL-SAUDI: Seized on March 01, 2010. The relatively small bunker barge Al Nisr Al Saudi with a deadweight of 5,136 ton s was returning to Jeddah after delivering its cargo to Japan . The vessel therefore was empty when it was sea-jacked in the Gulf of Aden and in the vicinity of Aden port . The captain of the ship is Greek and the nationality of the 13 other crew is Sri Lankan. All crew is believed to be safe. The ship was not registered with maritime authorities and was outside the designated route that naval warships patrol. Communications between the pirates and the owner were established soon after the capture and contrary to many other vessels the families of the hostage-seafarers are very well taken care of, though the negotiations concerning the release of the vessel and crew were at first not forthcoming. The vessel then moved from Garacad and is currently held at Kulub, from where negotiations commenced again and are near to be concluded. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) had asked the ship owner to explain the prolonged difficulties being faced by the ship's crew in the light of complaints lodged by Sri Lankan and Greek authorities. Kamal Arri, manager of International Bunkering, the company which owns the Al Nisr Al Saudi ship, told a newspaper the insurance company had agreed to pay the ransom after the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) gave preliminary approval. "We are now waiting for the Interior Ministry's approval," he told Arab News on Monday, August 01, 2010. He had requested Second Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Prince Naif to intervene in the matter to win the release of the ship and crew as quickly as possible. He said the insurance company's refusal to provide fuel could lead to the ship drifting powerless and possibly being damaged or sunk. Arri told the paper his company had lost SR30m (US$8m) as a result of the hijack and that the insurance had agreed to pay the US$20m ransom, which sounded strange. But he later stated that he made a mistake while speaking to Arab News in how much ransom the pirates were demanding, saying: “I told the reporter that the sum was $20 million. In fact, this was the amount previously demanded by the pirates which was greatly reduced later,” said Kamal Arri, the owner of the Al-Nisr. “I am only concerned now with the safe return of all sailors on board. They were desperate. In my last telephone conversation with them yesterday (Monday 02. Aug.), the Greek captain complained that the pirates were making them sleep on deck while they were using the cabins and rooms themselves, and they have been physically beaten and tortured,” he said.
MV ICEBERG I: Seized March 29, 2010. The UAE-owned, Panama-flagged Ro-Ro vessel MV ICEBERG 1 with her 24 multinational crew members ( 9 Yemenis, 6 Indians, 4 from Ghana, 2 Sudanese, 2 Pakistani and 1 Filipino) was sea-jacked just 10nm outside Aden Port, Gulf of Aden. The vessel was mostly held off Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, while negotiations have not yet achieved a solution. The USS McFaul intercepted and identified the ship on 19th May 2010, despite the pirates having painted over her name and re-named the ship SEA EXPRESS, while the vessel was on a presumed piracy mission on the high-seas. Since about 50 pirates on the ship made any rescue operation impossible without endangering the 24 crew, the naval ship followed the commandeered vessel's movements for the next 36 hours, until it began to sail back towards the coast of Somalia. It has transpired that the shipping company Azal Shipping based in Dubai refuses to pay any ransom and the ship is apparently not insured, though it carries very valuable cargo and it seems that the British cargo owner is in charge of the negotiations. The sailors have no more food, water or medicine from their stores on board. While all the seafarers are starving, a few of them already are getting sick, though none of the sailors suffers from a serious health condition yet. First Officer Kumar, Chief Engineer Mohamed and Second Engineer Francis also stated that they urgently need Diesel for the electricity generators. The crew requested again humanitarian intervention as before and has now received some supplies through intervention by local elders and a humanitarian group. Recently negotiations for the release started in earnest, but have not been concluded, because the captors consider the offer of the shipowner as unrealistic. According to the Chinese state-media newswire XINHUA, the acting director at the ministry of foreign affairs in Accra (Ghana) Mr. Lawrence Sotah said the ministry, in response to a petition by a relative of one of the hostages, had commenced investigations, but reportedly stated also that their location and reasons for the kidnapping remained unknown. "We do not have any information as to what the pirates are demanding, because the owners of the ship or the pirates themselves have not put out any information which will be helpful for us to know exactly what they want," he said. "Ghana’s mission in Saudi Arabia has been contacted to assist, " Sotah said. He said the ministry was working with other international security organization to get to the bottom of what he termed the "alleged" kidnapping. One of the sailors from Ghana was able to speak to a journalist back home and stated on 22. September: “They have given us a 48 hour deadline that if we don’t come up with anything reasonable they will kill some of us and sink the vessel. I am appealing to the Ghanaian authority that they should do something to save our lives because our treatment here is inhuman”. The vessel is now very close to the shore of Garacad. In the beginning of October the Somali pirates allegedly threatened to kill the sailors and to sell the body organs of the 22 hostages, if their ransom demands are not met in the near future. Media reports said the information was received via a text message from one of the hostages, but investigations showed that the message, which read that the pirates will kill them and then remove their eyes and kidneys in order to be sold, is more a sort of a macabre hoax.
FV JIH-CHUN TSAI 68 (日春財68號) : Seized March 31, 2010. The Taiwan-flagged and -owned fishing vessel with factory facility was attacked together with sister-ship Jui Man Fa (瑞滿發) , which managed to escape. The vessels are operating out of the Seychelles and reportedly had been observed in Somali waters earlier. The crew of Jih-chun Tsai No. 68 consists of 14 sailors - a Taiwanese captain along with two Chinese and 11 Indonesian seamen. The vessel is now held at Kulub at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and at first negotiations faced serious communication problems, while later a conclusion allegedly was achieved. But the release could still not be effected, since the brokers as well as the pirate-group holding the vessel changed. Allegedly money was sent into the wrong hands and never reached those holding the vessel and the seafarers hostage. It was reported in the meantime that the Taiwanese captain had several times been beaten severely.
FV NN - IRANIAN FISHING VESSEL: Seized before April 02, 2010. The gang of sea-shifta, which had captured the Indian dhow MSV KRISHNA JYOT and ran out of fuel near Socotra, seized the Iranian fishing vessel and set the dhow free with her crew unharmed while going off with the Iranian fishing vessel. While the vessel had at first not come to any shore in Somalia and was believed to be used as piracy platform, some sources reported the vessel later from Kulub and now from Habo at the Gulf of Aden coast. In the first days of October, an Iranian fishing dhow is observed to be held captive off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast.
VLCC SAMHO DREAM: Seized April 02, 2010. The Marshall Islands-registered "Samho Dream", a 300,000t oil tanker owned by South Korea's Samho Shipping, was seized by three Somali pirates in waters some 1,500 km south-east of the Gulf of Aden at around 16:10 Seoul time (0710 GMT). There are a total of 24 crew members on board, including five South Koreans and 19 Filipinos. The 319,000 dwt very large crude carrier was on its way from Iraq to Louisiana of the United States. The Samho Dream, which was built in 2002, is carrying crude oil that could be worth as much as $170 million at current oil prices. The vessel had been commandeered to Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast and is now anchored 4.6nm off the beach. The South Korean government ordered their destroyer Chungmugong Yi Sun-shin out of the Somali waters and back to its working routine in the Gulf of Aden, but still there are two warships keeping a watch close by, staging mock attacks and caused tension on board, which made the pirates to issue a statement that they would blow up the oil-tanker if the harassment would not stop and no ransom would be paid. soon. Though negotiations with the owners are ongoing no conclusion has been reached. The vessel was moved from Hobyo, where she was held since her capture until the advancement of Al-Shabaab spearheaded Hizb-ul-Islam groups, to Garacad, but was returned to Hobyo. The pirates' demand has not been accepted by the company. Captain Kim Sung-kyu told Yonhap News in a phone call that the 24-member crew with five Koreans and 19 Filipinos is now living in sub-human conditions. Kim said the abuses are getting worse as the pirates deprive them of sleep and food and threaten to kill them one by one if a ransom is not paid. He also expressed frustration towards the Samho Shipping Company's silence over the pirates' latest demands, which were issued last Saturday (05. Sept. 2010). The vessel was held clearly visible off the coast off Hobyo at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast, when a group of international media representatives visited the coastal town in August. MT SAMHO DREAM left that anchorage area off Hobyo) in the morning hours on 14th of Sep 2010. The ship is still commandeered as one skiff has been sighted on board. At 0505Z she was heading eastward at 08/09 kts and was about 80nm east of Somali coast, NATO reported. The shipping community was warned that vessel might have been used either to investigate sea states or to conduct mothership operations in the vicinity of shipping lanes. The giant oil-tanker then was commandeered first to Garcad, and Negotiations have reportedly become extremely difficult. NATO also assesses that the pirated VLCC Samho Dream was conducting pirate mother ship operations near the shipping lanes, approximately 190 nm SE of Socotra Island (approximately 10 38N 056 44E), where the vessel was observed tracking eastbound. The Samho Dream is approximately 333 m long, with an orange hull and white superstructure. This vessel represents an active threat to merchant shipping and any small boat observed in the vicinity of the Samho Dream should be considered to be a potential pirate vessel.
Since the 4th of October, however, the vessel is again held off Hobyo at the central Somali Indian Ocean coast.
MV RAK AFRIKANA: Seized April 11, 2010, the general cargo vessel (IMO 8200553) with a dead-weight of 7,561 tonnes (5992t gross) was captured at 06h32 approximately 280 nautical miles west of Seychelles and 480nm off Somalia in position 04:45S - 051:00E. The captured vessel flies a flag of convenience from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and has as registered owner RAK AFRICANA SHIPPING LTD based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and an offices in the Seychelles, while industry sources say the beneficial owner is from China. AL SINDBAD SHIPPING & MARINE from Ras al Khaimah (UAE) serves as manager. While China's Seafarers Union, based on an outdated ITF database, first spoke of 23 Chinese nationals as crew, the shipowner says there are 26 seamen from India, Pakistan and Tanzania on board. The actual crew-list has not been provided yet and the crew is not covered by an ITF agreement, but it could be established that the crew comprises of 11 Indians, including the captain, the second and third officer, as well as 10 Tanzanians and 5 Pakistanis. The vessel stopped briefly due to engine problems - around 280 nautical miles (520 kilometres) west of the Seychelles - but was then commandeered to Somalia and was held off Ceel Huur not far from Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean Coast, from where it was moved to Ga'an and further towards Hobyo, but then it was still held in the vicinity of Harardheere. When the pirates tried to leave the ;last time from that location they were pushed back by the navies to the shore and the vessel is now held near Xamdule (Hamdule is between Hobyo and Harardheere). The captors have forced the crew to fly the Italian flag, signalling the beneficial owner of the vessel. Negotiations have reportedly broken down because the interpreter is confused while not knowing if he is talking to the right people.
2 YEMENI FISHING VESSELS: Two Yemeni fishing vessels were seized by presumed Somali sea-gangs during the week 09th to 16th April in the Gulf of Aden. The Yemeni coastguard did not specify the name of the vessels and only reported in one case the crew as comprising of three Yemeni nationals. Recent reports that the dhows might have returned to Yemen were officially not yet confirmed.
THAI FISHING FLEET: Seized April 18, 2010 with a total crew of 77 sailors, of which 12 are Thai and the others of different nationalities, the Thailand-flagged vessels operating out of Djibouti were fishing illegal in the Indian Ocean off Minicoy Island in the fishing grounds of the Maldives. All three vessels were then commandeered towards the Somali coast by a group of in total around 15 Somalis.
FV PRANTALAY 11 with a crew of 26
FV PRANTALAY 12 with a crew of 25
FV PRANTALAY 14 with a crew of 26
None of these vessels is registered and authorized by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission to fish in the Indian Ocean.
The fleet is now held off the coast at Kulub near Garacad (06 59N 049 24E) at the north-eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. The captors already threatened since months to use one of the hunter-vessels of the group as a piracy-launch, while negotiations have not been forthcoming. Prantalay 14 left the coast in the morning of 20. September to what is said to be another piracy expedition. Three skiffs, three ladders and other equipment were observed to be on board. The vessel has been further observed on 28. September near the shipping lanes in the area. On 30. September at 10h15 UTC a Pirate Action Group consisting of one skiffs with ladders and weapons was reported in position 07 34 N 057 39 E, which is assessed to be connected to an operation of this fishing vessel as Mother Ship - reported in position 06 47 N 060 51 E.
MV VOC DAISY: Seized in the morning of April 21, 2010, the Panama-flagged, Liberian-owned bulk carrier of 47,183 dead-weight tonnes, was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, 190 nautical miles East South East of Salalah, Oman. The bulker was registered with the Maritime Security Centre Horn Of Africa (MSCHOA) and heading west from Ruwais, U.A.E, making for the eastern rendezvous point of the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), for onward transit through the Suez Canal. She was 280 miles from the IRTC when she was sea-jacked. The vessel is owned by Middleburg Properties Ltd, Liberia, and operated by the Greek company Samartzis Maritime Enterprises. The 21 men all-Filipino crew was able to raise the alarm before the four armed pirates, carrying three AK47s and one RPG, stormed onboard and cut their lines of communication. The crew is, however, said to be all right, given the circumstances. The vessel is now held off Kulub near Garacad at the North-Eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia. Negotiations difficult.
FV TAI YUAN 227: Seized on May 06, 2010 in an area north of the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Seychelles as it headed for the Maldives. The Taiwanese fishing boat has a crew of 28 (9 Chinese, 3 Vietnamese, 3 Filipinos, 7 Kenyans and 2 from Mozambique). Taiwan's foreign ministry confirmed that the vessel had been seized after the Taipei Rescue Command Centre reported the incident to have taken place in approximate position 0105N-06750E . The ministry added that contact was made o n Friday with the pirates who made an unspecified ransom demand, while the vessel is heading towards the Somali coast . The vessel has no authorization by the Indian Ocean Commission to fish in the Indian Ocean, which, however, is partly explained by the fact that China is opposed to Taiwan as flag state. Due to the inaction of the ship-owner and the Taiwan government to free the vessel, it was used again as launch for further piracy attacks. Vessel and crew was held off Habo at the Puntland coast of the Gulf of Aden, but now the Taiwanese fishing vessel is said by the NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) to be operating as pirate mother-ship within an area of a 200nm radius from 06 degrees 50 minutes north and 65 degrees 00 minutes east. NSC 'Counter Piracy Operation Ocean Shield' warns Masters . The vessel has even the potential to conduct pirate operations further out. The Tai Yuan 227 is a white hulled fishing vessel, approximately 50 metres long, with the registration numbers BH3Z87 painted in large black letters on the hull.
FV AL-DHAFIR: Seized on May 07, 2010 off the coast of Yemen the Yemen coastguard of the Arabian peninsular state reported. Yemen's Defence Ministry confirmed that the 7 Yemeni nationals on board were abducted to Somalia. Yemen's coastguard said Somali pirates captured the fishing vessel, while it was docked at a Yemeni island in the Red Sea and had taken it to Somalia. The coastguard was continuing its efforts to retrieve the boat, the Defence Ministry said, but meanwhile the dhow is said to be held at the Somali shore close to Eyl.
MT MARIDA MARGUERITE: Seized May 08, 2010, around120nm south of the Omani port of Salalah in the protected shipping corridor, the German owner-managed, US-owner-registered chemical tanker of 13.273 dwt has a crew of 22 seamen, including 19 Indians, two Bangladeshi and one Ukrainian. The vessel is flying a flag of convenience (FOC) from the Marshall Islands . The tanker was held at the north-eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast near Garacad but then changed position to a location off the Gulf of Aden Coast near Habo. Negotiations have not been forthcoming and the vessel was mid August commandeered southwards to Hobyo in a possible move to provide cover for the release of the Korean supertanker held there, but has been commandeered back northwards too, when the oil-tanker left from Hobyo.
MV ELENI P: Seized in the morning of May 12, 2010, the Greek-owned, Liberia-flagged 72,100 dwt bulker was sea-jacked around 380 nm south-east of Salalah (Oman) in position 15°55N / 060°50E. The 23 crew comprises of 19 Filipinos, 2 Greek and one Ukrainian sailor, who are said to be unharmed. Reports say that the vessel - then sailing under another name as SEAHORSE - had been attacked already before on April 09, 2009. The vessel is held near Garacad at the north-eastern Somali Indian Ocean coast.
MT GOLDEN BLESSING: Seized in the morning at 03h27 UTC (06h27 loc al time) of June 28, 2010, the Singapore flagged, Chinese-managed 14,300 DWT chemical tanker GOLDEN BLESSING (IMO number 9539016) was plying the waters inside the Internationally Recognized Transit Corridor (IRTC) on her way from Saudi Arabia to India, when the 19 men strong all Chinese crew was overwhelmed at position Latitude: 13°23.7N Longitude: 049°58E and taken hostage in the view of a helicopter from a nearby naval vessel. Singapore's Maritime Port Authority (MPA) confirmed the sea-jacking of the Singapore-registered ship. The 2010-built Handy tanker was then commandeered by its Somali captors to the Somali Indian Ocean coast, where it stopped at Bargaal, but was later taken back into the Gulf of Aden, where it is held near MT MOTIVATOR at the northern Puntland shores off Habo (Xabo). The China-owned tanker carries as cargo around 15,000 m³ of highly toxic ethylene glycol - a poisonous chemical used in antifreeze,Li Jingzhong, spokesman of the charterer company SHANGHAI DINGHENG SHIPPING CO, was able to contact the captain of the ship and could establish that the crew is safe. Vessel and crew are not covered by an ITF agreement. After first contacts for negotiations concerning the release had been made by the owner-managers Advance Shipping for registered owner GOLDEN PACIFIC INTL & HOLDINGS, the mediation progressed positively.
MT MOTIVATOR: At 09h44 UTC (12h44 local time) on 4 July, the tanker's captain reported they were under small arms fire from a pirate attack in position 13°16N / 042°56E in the northern Bab Al Mandeb area - around 50nm north of the Bab al-Mandeb andg south when she was attacked by two small vessels in the southern Red Sea. After the initial notification of this attack, unsuccessful attempts were made to contact the Greek-owned vessel. The capture then was confirmed early on 5. July at Latitude: 11°33N, Longitude: 045°28E in the Gulf of Aden. Position 11 ° 50 / 45 ° 00 is Point A of the internationally protected maritime shipping corridor through the Gulf of Aden, called the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). The MT MOTIVATOR, with a dead-weight of 13,065 tonnes has a crew of 18 Filipino nationals on board, though the Philippine government had ruled out that Pinoy crews could be allowed to sail these dangerous waters through the Gulf of Aden. The sea-jacked ship is a Marshall Islands flagged chemical products tanker loaded with lubrication-oil and therefore is posing the potential danger of an oil-spill. While at least one foreign warship intercepted the captured merchant-vessel's path towards the Somali coast and shadowed the situation, it has become clear that the pirate group hails from Puntland. The commandeered vessel stopped briefly north of Puntland and intended to proceed towards the pirate stronghold of Garacad, but it is held now close to Xabo at the Gulf of Aden coast due to a dispute between the captors from Puntland and other pirate groups at Garacad. Xabo (Habo) became infamous for the holding of two tugboats and their crews for over a year. The 18 Filipino seafarers on board the MT MOTIVATOR are all accounted for and safe, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said. Philippine's executive director Enrico Fos of the DFA’s Office of the Under-secretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA) said the seafarers were able to communicate with their families to let them know that all crew is well. “The pirates have also already called the ship’s principal, but no demands have yet been made," he added.
MV SUEZ: In the early hours at 0420 UTC of AUG 02, 2010, the MV SUEZ (IMO number 8218720) reported being under small arms fire from a pirate attack by one of 3 skiffs in position 13 02N - 048 54E and minutes later the Indian captain reported pirates on board.
After notification of the attack, attempts were made by the navies, who are supposed to protect the area, to make contact with the MV SUEZ, but to no avail. Egyptian-owned MV SUEZ was travelling under flag of convenience from Panama in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) when attacked. Immediately after the first report a helicopter was directed to the ship but pirates had already taken over the command of the vessel, EU NAVFOR reported.
Two NATO warships, HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën and USS Cole, from the NATO counter piracy task force undertaking Operation OCEAN SHIELD, and a Singaporean warship the RSS Endurance from the CMF taskforce were within forty miles of MV Suez at the time of the attack. Despite reacting immediately and having a helicopter on the scene within 10 minutes, naval forces were unable to prevent the attack as the pirates had been able to board the ship within 5 minutes, NATO reported.
The case actually shows that though the ship was reportedly employing Best Management Practices, having barbed wire in place and fire hoses ready, the waters off Yemen and opposite Puntland are the most dangerous in the whole area. Somali sea-shifta are able to outwit and overcome any preventive measures - including arms on board, which only would drive the casualty figures higher. The incident actually highlights once again that it is high time to follow the advice to engage and help local Somali communities along the two coasts to make their coastlines safer themselves and to empower them to rule out the holding of any hostage from these innocent merchant vessels.
The MV SUEZ, with a deadweight of 17, 300 tonnes, has a crew of 24, according to NATO, while EU Navfor said 23 and the last crew-list: showed 21 with 9 Egyptians, 7 Pakistani, 3 Indians and 2 Sri Lankans. It could be confirmed in the meantime that the 23 men crew consists of 11 Egyptians, 6 Indians, 4 Pakistani and 2 Sri Lankans. Crew and shipowner do not have an ITF Approved CBA agreement and - due to overdue survey - the ship's classification status had been withdrawn by Germanischer Lloyd since 28. 06. 2010. The detailed, actual crew list is awaited. RED SEA NAVIGATION CO. serves as ship manager for owner MATSO SHIPPING CO. INC. - both from Port Tawfiq in Egypt. Red Sea Navigation's commercial director Mohamed Abdel Meguid said his company already paid a US$1.5 million ransom last year (actually it was the year before) for another hostage ship, the MV MANSOURAH 1 (aka Al Mansourah), which was sea-jacked on 03. September 2008 and released against the ransom after only 23 days. As DPA reported from Cairo a day later, an official with Red Sea Navigation Company, who declined to be identified publicly, said that the company would not pay a ransom and that the matter was being handled by the Foreign Ministry in Cairo.
MV SUEZ, the merchant vessel with a cargo of cement bags destined for Eritrea, was then commandeered towards the north-eastern Indian Ocean coast of Somalia and was expected at the pirate lair of Garacad in Puntland, but there pirate groups are fighting among each other and have come recently under pressure from Puntland forces. The vessel therefore dropped at first anchor near Bargaal and then was commandeered back again to the Gulf of Aden coast of Puntland, where it was held close to Bolimoog, between Alula and Habo at the very northern tip of the Horn of Africa. Thereafter the ship was moved again to the Indian Ocean coast near Dinowda Qorioweyn.
"The pirates are treating us toughly, and they took some of the crew to unknown place to exert pressure on owners of the ship," Farida Farouqe quoted her husband as telling her over the phone, as Xinhua news agency reported. The alleged demands vary between one, four and six million dollars, while officially the ship owner has been reported as saying already earlier that no ransom will be paid, while the cargo-owners seem to have been negotiating.
YEMENI FISHING VESSEL: Seized August 26, 2001. The earlier reports provided by maritime observers speaking of the capture of a fishing vessel were confirmed now to the extend that the type and flag of the vessel have been identified. A Yemeni fishing vessel with at least 10 sailors on board was seized in the territorial waters of Somalia. The name of the vessel and Yemeni registration is not yet known. The Yemeni boat was sailing near the north coast of Somalia when the captors attacked it with small skiffs. They later headed toward the Somali coast.
MV OLIB G: Seized September 08, 2010. Reports from our local observers were confirmed by EU NAVFOR: Early on the morning of 8 September, the Malta-flagged Merchant Vessel (MV) OLIB G (IMO 8026608) - a Greek-owned chemical tanker - was pirated in the east part of the protected Gulf of Aden corridor. After having received a report from a merchant vessel that a skiff was approaching MV OLIB G, and after several unsuccessful attempts to make contact with the vessel, the USS PRINCETON warship of Task Force 151 launched its helicopter. The helicopter was able to identify two pirates on board MV OLIB G, the EU report stated. The MV OLIB G was sailing West in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor en route from Alexandria to India through the Gulf of Aden - allegedly carrying only ballast. The Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) is an area in which EU NAVFOR (Task Force 465), NATO (Task Force 508) and Combined Maritime Force (Task Force 151) coordinate the patrol of maritime transits. It is, however, not known yet if the vessel was involved in dumping or why it was just sailing with ballast. The MV OLIB G, deadweight 6,375 tons, has a crew of 18, among which are 15 Georgian and 3 Turkish. Crew and vessel are not covered by ITF Agreement. The vessel has as registered owners FRIO MARITIME SA and as manager FRIO VENTURES SA, both of Athens in Greece. The attack group is said to consist of people from the Majerteen (Puntland) and Warsangeli (Sanaag) clans, who had set out from Elayo. After the well timed attack - more or less synchronized with attacks on two other vessels - and the subsequent overpowering of the crew the vessel was then commandeered towards the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia, where it is now held near Eyl. The owner of the vessel initially offered a ransom of $75,000, but later raised it to $150,000. However, the sea pirates want no less than $15 million, a Press TV correspondent reported.
NASTA AL YEMEN: Reportedly seized on Sept. 14, 2010. Number of crew yet unknown, but presumed 9. Further report awaited from Yemen.
HOSTAGES TAKEN: On Sept. 28, 2010, five employees of NATIONLINK, a telecommunications provider, were hi-jacked at gunpoint from their offices in Lasqorey, the coastal town of Warsangeliland (Sanaag Region) in Central Northern Somalia. The five Somali men are now held hostage by relatives of a pirate gang and demands have been made to free 8 jailed pirates from Mandheera prison in Somaliland.
Similar demands had been made with the hi-jacking of Somaliland lorries and their drivers earlier.
The prisoners were seized in Maydh by the Somaliland coast guards, who accused them of being sea pirates. The regional court of Sanaag Region sentenced them to 11 year imprisonment and transferred them to Somaliland.
The Police Commissioner of Somaliland stated “The Police was not aware when the nation Link staff went to Lasqorey and they even did not inform the Police commander in Cerigavo. Now we contacted traditional leaders in Lasqorey, from whose clan the kidnappers hail. At the same time we beefed up security."
MT ASPHALT VENTURE: Seized September 28, 2010 the Panama-flagged was captured on her way from Mombasa - where the vessel left at noon on 27. September, southbound to Durban, at 20h06 UTC = 23h06 local time local time in position 07 09 S 40 59 E. The vessel was sailing in ballast and a second alarm was received at 00h58 UTC = 03h58 . The ship with its 15 all Indian crew was then observed to have turned around and is at present commandeered northwards to Somalia. EU NAVFOR confirmed the case only in the late afternoon of 29. September. Information from the ground says a pirate group from Brava had captured the vessel and at first it was reported that the vessel was heading towards Harardheere at the Central Somali Indian Ocean coast, while now it seems that the tanker will have first contact on the Somali coast near Hobyo or might be taken elsewhere. The vessel is managed by ISM manager OMCI SHIPMANAGEMENT PVT LTD from Mumbai and owned by BITUMEN INVEST AS from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, who uses INTER GLOBAL SHIPPING LTD from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates as ship-handler. The Government of India and other authorities are informed. The condition of the crew could not yet fully be established, but so far no casualties or injuries are reported.
MV ISUMI: Seized while en rout from Japan via Singapore to Kenya in Somali waters on October 10, 2010 at 13h09 UTC in position 01 39S 042 05E,. the multi-purpose ship MV IZUMI has an all- Filipino crew of 20.
The ship is owned by Japanese shipping company NYK-Hinode Line Ltd. , one of the oldest shiping lines plying the routes from the Far East to East Africa, and is flying a flag of convenience from Panama.
While in the years back the company still had Japanese officers on board of their vessel, they have now all-Filipino crews despite the ban by the government of the Philippines to employ their nationals on routes endangered by piracy.
EU NAVFOR confirmed the case and reported the vessel at a position 170 miles (274 kilometres) south of the Somali capital of Mogadishu and as being commandeered northwards ,
A Danish and a French warship are close by.
in her 10 separated tanks, which are MARPOL certified. Mr. approximately 18nm west of Mokha, Yemen while travellin
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THIS INFORMATION IS ALSO A WARNING TO VESSELS TRAVERSING THE SOMALI BASIN TO BE AWARE OF LARGER VESSELS BEING USED AS LAUNCHING PAD AND DECOY FOR PIRACY ATTACKS .
All vessels navigating in the Indian Ocean are advised to consider keeping East of 60E when routing North/South and to consider routing East of 60E and South of 10S when proceeding to and from ports in South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya.
The Indian Government has issued a NOTICE on 30th March 2010: All Indian-flagged motorized sailing vessels are - with immediate effect - no longer permitted to ply the waters south and west of a line joining Salalah (Oman) and Malé (Maldives).
NOTIFICATION BY THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT
- Issued by The Directorate General of Shipping, Mumbai.
DIRECTIONS 31. March 2010
The Directorate has issued directions prohibiting the trading of mechanized sailing vessels south and west of the line joining Salalah and Male, with immediate effect.
NON-MARITIME HOSTAGE CASES IN SOMALIA:
Briton Murray Watson and Kenyan Patrick Amukhuma are missing since 01. April 2008. They were working on a U.N.-funded project in the Juba valley, were seized by gunmen near Bua'le and taken to Jilib, 280 km (175 miles) south of Mogadishu. According to media reports they are still being held and close sources maintain that the case is one of a so far Unsuccessful Resolution with no independent proof of live since a long time. The meanwhile penniless Kenyan-Somali spouse with 3 children of Mr. Watson appealed recently again for the release of the British researcher.
French officer Denis Allex. Somali gunmen kidnapped two French security advisers working for the Somali TFG government from the Sahafi Hotel in Mogadishu on July 14 2009. Police said one escaped on Aug. 26 after killing three of his captors, but Marc Aubriere denied killing anyone and said he slipped away while his guards slept. A video released by Al Shabab was showing the second officer still being held and political demands for his release were made by Al Shabab. On June 9, 2010 the video appeared on a website often used by Islamist militant groups, which said the hostage, named as Denis Allex, had issued a "message to the French people". The video showed the captive in an orange outfit with armed men standing behind him.
CASES NOT COMPLETELY CLOSED:
- please see: Status of not yet resolved Maritime Incidences off Somalia
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For 2010 the recorded account around the Horn of Africa stands at 166 incidences with 136 attacks by Somali sea-shifta resulting in 51 sea-jackings on the one side and the sinking of one merchant vessel (MV AL-ABI ) by machine-gun fire from the Seychelles's coastguard boat TOPAZ (11 Somalis now jailed for 10 years in the Seychelles) and the wrongful attack by the Indian navy on an innocent Yemeni fishing vessel on the other. Sea-jacked MV AL-ASSA - without its original Yemeni crew - was used as pirate vessel and likewise sunk with Somali captors released on land.
The naval alliances had since August 2008 and until May 2010 apprehended 1090 suspected pirates, detained and kept or transferred for pr osecution 480, killed at least 64 and wounded over 24 Somalis. (Actual independent update see: http://bruxelles2.over-blog.com/pages/_Bilan_antipiraterie_Atalanta_CTF_Otan_Russie_Exclusif-1169128.html). It must, however, be noted that most navies have become since the beginning of 2010 less than transparent and do neither report properly to the Somali government nor through their media outlets on the real number of casualties and injuries.
Not documented cases of absconded vessels are not listed in the sea-jack count until clarification. Several other vessels with unclear fate (although not in the actual count), who were reported missing over the last ten years in this area, are still kept on our watch-list, though in some cases it is presumed that they sunk due to bad weather or being unfit to sail - like the S/Y Serenity, MV Indian Ocean Explorer.Present multi-factorial risk assessment code: GoA: ORANGE / IO: ORANGE (Red = Very much likely, high season; Orange = Reduced risk, but very likely, Yellow = significantly reduced risk, but still likely, Blue = possible, Green = unlikely). Piracy incidents usually degrade during the monsoon season and rise gradually by the end of the monsoon. Starting from mid February until early April as well as around October every year an increase in piracy cases can be expected. With the onset of the monsoon winds and rough seas piracy cases decline.
If you have any additional information concerning the cases, please send to office[at]ecoterra-international.org - if required we guarantee 100% confidentiality.
For further details and regional information see the Somali Marine and Coastal Monitor and the updated map of the PIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA. See the archive at www.australia.to and news on www.international.to
EMERGENCY HELPLINE: sms/call +254-719-603-176 / +254-733-633-733
East Africa ILLEGAL FISHING AND DUMPING HOTLINE: +254-714-747-090 (confidentiality guaranteed) - email: office[at]ecoterra.net
EA Seafarers Assistance Programme : Call: +254-734-437838 or +254-714-747090 or SMS to +254-738-497979
ECOTERRA Intl. is an international nature protection and human rights organization, whose Africa offices in Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania also monitor the marine and maritime situation along the East African Indian Ocean coasts as well as the Gulf of Aden. ECOTERRA is working in Somalia since 1986 and does focus in its work against piracy mainly on coastal development, marine protection and pacification.
N.B.: This status report is mainly for the next of kin of seafarers held hostage, who often do not get any information from the ship-owners or their governments, and shall serve as well as clearing-house for the media. Request for further details can be e-mailed to: somalia[at]ecoterra.net (you have to verify your mail).
Source: ECOTERRA Intl.
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