Nov 102011
 

ITF wants flag state forces to tackle piracy

Private armed security guards should only supplement not replace state armed forces and flag states should place teams onboard to deter pirates,says the International Transport Workers’ Federation, ITF.

In the statement the ITF quotes general secretary David Cockroft: “Somali-based piracy has been allowed to become so successful, savage and wide-ranging that seafarers’ and seafaring organisations’ worries about armed guards have had to be set aside. However, guards can never be anything but a supplement to the sorely-tried existing naval presence, which is now trying to cover an entire ocean.

“The ITF, like the International Shipping Federation and International Chamber of Shipping, would like to see on-vessel detachments made up of the ship’s flag state forces whenever possible.”

He continued:  “Sadly no move is without risks. Pirate gangs are making fortunes out of their crimes. It is easy for them to reach for heavier and heavier weapons and turn to obscene levels of violence to counter defensive measures.”
Continue reading »

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Sep 242011
 

Pirates tried fire to force seafarers from the citadel

Earlier 21 September , NATO’s counter piracy flag ship, Italian Ship (ITS) Andrea Doria, rescued the crew of M/V Pacific Express, 180 nautical miles off the coast of Kenya. M/V Pacific Express had reported being under pirate attack on September 20, 2011.

ITS Andrea Doria responded to the distress call and closed in on M/V Pacific Express during the night of September 20. After evaluating the situation, the NATO warship assessed that pirates were no longer on board. As heavy smoke was coming out of the M/V, ITS Andrea Doria decided to send a boarding team to evacuate the crew and rescued all 26 crewmembers (25 Filipinos and 1 Ukrainian) who had locked themselves inside the safety zone of the merchant ship.
According to the crew, the fire was the result of the pirates’ attempts to force them out of their confinement. They also reported hearing gun shots and possibly a RPG being fired during their time in the safety zone. They suffered no injuries and are now being transferred to Mombasa.

ITS Andrea Doria has been engaged in Operation “Ocean Shield” to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia under the command of Rear Admiral Gualtiero Mattesi since June 14, 2011.

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Sep 112011
 

Ban Ki-Moon told "It isn't working"

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the International Chamber of Shipping, ICS, BIMCO, Intertanko and Intercargo demand a “bold new strategy” to curb rising levels of piracy which have resulted in the Indian Ocean resembling “the wild west”.

Says the letter: “It is now abundantly clear to shipping companies that the current situation, whereby control of the Indian Ocean has been ceded to pirates, requires a bold new strategy. To be candid, the current approach is not working.”

Regretting the increasing necessity for shipping companies to employ private armed guards to protect crew and ships, the letter continues: “It seems inevitable that lawlessness ashore in Somalia will continue to breed lawlessness at sea.”

The shipping industry organisations – which represent more than 90% of the world merchant fleet – say they fully support the UN’s long-term measures on shore aimed at helping the Somali people but are concerned that these “may take years, if not decades, to have a meaningful impact on piracy.”
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Sep 012011
 

MV Polar and crew freed after 300 days hostage.

In the early hours of 26 August, M/V Polar was released from pirate control after 300 days in captivity and has recently safely reached the port of Salalah, Oman, says EUNAVFOR.

The Panama flagged and Liberian owned tanker was enroute to Singapore from Suez at the time of her capture, approximately 620 nautical miles East of Socotra Island.

EUNAVFOR Somalia – Operation ATALANTA’s main tasks are to escort ships carrying humanitarian aid of the World Food Program (WFP) and vessels of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), deter and disrupt piracy and protect other vulnerable vessels in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. In addition, EUNAVFOR monitors fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.

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Aug 252011
 

Avoiding pirate premium could put your vessel at risk

Trying to avoid the Additional Premium Area for War Risks by sailing closer to the Indian Coast is a bad idea warns James Mackintosh & Co, a correspondent for the London P&I Club. The best thing, when asked to do so, for a master to just say ‘no’.

In an alert to it’s members, the London Club says: “Members will be aware that, due to the continuing pirate attacks on merchant ships traversing the Gulf of Aden area and the widening geographical range of attacks despite the presence of a number of international navies, the Additional Premium Area for War Risks in the Indian Ocean (“the AP Area”) has been extended to up to 12 miles offshore from the Indian Coast.

In the light of this extension, James Mackintosh & Co Pvt Ltd, a Mumbai Correspondent, has written to the Association highlighting the dangers of trying to avoid the AP Area by navigating the inshore route (i.e. within 12 miles of the Indian coast), especially with regard to passage planning in and around the Mumbai area…. Their conclusion is that, given all the dangers (including crossing traffic lanes in contravention of accepted practice around Mumbai, navigating around offshore installations, and avoiding shallows), a prudent Master would in their view be within his rights to refuse to navigate the inshore route as it is arguable that any risk of piracy is outweighed by the risks of proceeding on the inshore route. A

dditionally, they indicate that “while approaching bigger ports like Mumbai, it will not be feasible to navigate through outer anchorages and traffic lanes” thus necessitating an offshore route through the AP Area in any event. Further investigation has shown that there may also be navigational safety issues at the start of the AP Area at the southern tip of India at the approach to Cape Cormorin.

At this point there is shallower water nearer the coast which narrows the possible area through which a ship can safely pass, which could cause heightened risks particularly if traffic flow is heavy. Given the above, and the almost certain need to enter the AP Zone when transiting the Indian Ocean, Members should carefully consider the issue of additional premium and who will be responsible for it before entering into new charterparties.

 

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Jul 282011
 

A total of 82 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia during January-June 2011. Of these, 70 were actual incidents and 12 were attempted incidents. Overall, there has been an increase in the number of incidents reported during this period compared to the same period in the past four years (January-June of 2007-2010) says The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia, ReCAAP.

The increase was mostly the Category 3, less significant, incidents which occurred at ports and anchorages. The number of Category 2, moderately significant, incidents and Category 1, very significant, incidents remained fairly consistent during January-June of 2010 and 2011. Continue reading »

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Jul 272011
 
Photo: Enavfor/Luis Carlos Amaral Laranjeria

Click for the big pic. Photo: Enavfor/Luis Carlos Amaral Laranjeria

MAC is intrigued by the winning entry in the EUNAVFOR photograph competition. The bad folk in the bow have their hands suitably skyward, as does someone apparently seated in the stern bt nearby, one of the pirates seems entirely unmoved by the events going on.

Says ENAVFOR: “To record the work of Operation ATALANTA and to increase the library of related photographs, all the officers, sailors and marines involved in the protection of World Food Programme and other vulnerable ships in the Indian Ocean were invited to take part in a photographic competition in which the photographs had to be connected with the work of EU NAVFOR”.

See the other winning photographs here.

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Jul 262011
 


Germany-based piracy think tank PiraT, has published its latest newsletter covering a workshop conducted in early July.

Says PiraT:

On the 6th of July the workshop “Piracy and maritime terrorism: concernment of economic agents” took place in the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). The results of the survey, which was conducted by the joint partners of the PiraT-Project, were presented and discussed with all participants. In the survey ship-owners and insurance companies were questioned. From the point of view of the respondents, the risk of piracy is presently regarded as very high and is expected to further increase. Continue reading »

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Jun 202011
 

Lack of evidence meant catch-and-release

On 19th June, EU NAVFOR Flag Ship, Portuguese frigate Vasco Da Gama disrupted a skiff which was suspected of launching an attack on MV Ejnana in the Gulf of Aden earlier that day.

The Portuguese warship intercepted a distress call from the Ejnana reporting that it was being attacked by a skiff.  Vasco Da Gama was immediately tasked to proceed to the area in order to investigate the incident.  During her approach, radio contact was maintained and several recommendations were passed to the merchant vessel trying to repel the attack.  By following these directions the vessel fended off the pirates and reported being safe.

The helicopter from EU NAVFOR British warship HMS Richmond, which was also tasked to respond, spotted the skiff which contained four suspected pirates.  The individuals onboard realized that they had been located and began to throw the majority of their piracy paraphernalia overboard.  The helicopter passed the position of the skiff to  Vasco Da Gama as she was the closest warship in the area. A few minutes later,  Vasco Da Gama’s own helicopter intercepted the skiff and the boarding team was sent onboard. Continue reading »

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