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.

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.”
Continue reading »

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 »

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.

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 »

Jun 182011
 

Benin - don't expect help.. photo: BBC

Piracy in West African waters is on the rise, warns the London P&I Club’s correspondent in Benin. Most attacks occur while ships are at anchor or close to the shore, unlike East Africa, where Somali pirates have netted millions of dollars in ransoms in exchange for the release of ships captured hundreds of miles from the coast.

The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre has previously highlighted the risk to shipping in Tema, Ghana, and in the Lagos and Bonny River areas of Nigeria.  It states that pirates have attacked and robbed vessels and kidnapped crews along the coast and rivers, anchorages, ports and surrounding waters.

In response, the Nigerian Authorities have forbidden bunkering offshore, unless such operations are secured by soldiers provided by the Government, subject to formal authorisation and payment of the costs involved.  Such measures are believed to have resulted in pirates travelling further afield and into foreign territories to capture vessels. Unfortunately, piracy is now occurring offshore Benin.  A crew member has been killed in one such attack.  Moreover, recent attacks suggest that some better organised and resourced pirates are targeting valuable refined oil cargoes. Since the turn of the year it is understood that three tankers have been captured for this purpose. In each case the vessel and crew were released several days later, but only after the pirates had forced the crew to pump cargo to craft brought alongside. Further, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre now notes Benin as an area of increasing attacks in their Piracy Prone Area List.

It should also be noted that the Benin authorities lack the resources available to the Nigerian Navy, and that appeals for assistance whilst under attack in Benin waters may therefore go unanswered. In the meantime, vigilance against hijacking and kidnap should be practised in all areas where pirate activity is suspected.

May 022011
 

MV Renaur: On way to safe port. Photo: EUNAVFOR

EUNAVFOR reports the release of two pirated vessels, Asphalt Venture and Renuar. Seven of Asphalt Ventures crews are believed to remain held by pirates onshore.

The Panama flagged Asphalt Venture was pirated on 28 September 2010 about 100 nautical miles South-East of Dar Es Salaam in the Somali Basin, the vessel was on route to Durban when it was attacked. It was released on 15 April after 199 days.

It is understood that 7 members of the original crew of 15 were not released with the vessel and that they are still being held in ashore in Somalia.  The other eight crewmembers are taking the vessel to a safe port. Continue reading »

Apr 142011
 

Courtsy of the Finnish navy a pirate dhow goes sky-high, but so are piracy incidents claims IMB

Piracy at sea hit an all-time high in the first three months of 2011, with 142 attacks worldwide, claims the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) global piracy.

The sharp rise was driven by a surge in piracy off the coast of Somalia, where 97 attacks were recorded in the first quarter of 2011, up from 35 in the same period last year. Continue reading »

Apr 132011
 

Thor-Nexus

MV THOR NEXUS was released from pirate control on 12 April 2011.  The Thai flagged and owned vessel was on her way to Bangladesh from Jebel Ali in the UAE when she was attacked in the Northern Indian Ocean on the 25 December 2010.

The vessel and her Thai crew of 27 are believed to be making for a safe port.

According to the owner all the crew members are safe and in good health. Continue reading »