Jan 212011

Renuar: A wolf in ship's clothing

The following information derives from the weekly NATO Shipping Centre report which provides further details.

Japan 555 (Malaysia 618 / Tai Yuan 227) –is assessed to be used as mothership and be involved in the attack on a merchant vessel in pos 14°56N 059°14E at 1023UTC 20 JAN 2011

RENUAR, JIH CHUN TSAI 68, GOLDEN WAVE (also known as GEUMMI 305) and one of the PRANTALAYs have left the anchorage and it assessed to be used by pirates as a mothership, no position at this time, but Renuar maybe heading to Arabian sea

Weekly assessment 15/1-2011

Gulf of Aden/Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). Over the past week the monsoon did not affect small boat operation in the GoA and skiffs blending in the local traffic to conduct piracy can be expected at any time with little or no warning. Again we have had reports of possible attacks in the western part of the GoA but none of these reports included the use of weapons or any attempt to board and are likely not piracy related.  The main piracy threat remains in the central IRTC with one attack on the MT JBU OSLO and two disruptions by counter-piracy units.

Arabian Sea/Greater Somali Basin. Over the past week the northeast monsoon did not have significant affect on the Arabian Sea or Greater Somali Basin. Somali pirates are exploiting the weak monsoon and were extremely active in the northern part of the Somali Basin and the Arabian Sea specifically north of 10 degrees north and west of 65 degrees east with nine attacks and three piratings. Pirates continue to launch the majority attacks from pirate-controlled local dhows primarily Iranian-flagged.  Pirated ships have also been used in the same area in particular Tai Yuan 227. This vessel has had her name painted over and currently reads Japan 555.  Malaysian and ROK counter-piracy forces were successful in rescuing the MV BUNGA LAUREL and MV SAMHO JEWELRY.

The number of pirated fishing vessels and dhows conducting piracy operations is assessed to be at least four dhow type mother ship pirate attack groups (or PAGs) underway in the western Arabian Sea and three fishing vessel mother ship PAGs, FV TAI YUAN 227 (JAPAN 555), FV JIH CHUN TSAI 68 and one PRANTALAY in the western Arabian Sea possibly northern Somalia Basin. FV GOLDEN WAVE (also known as GEUMMI 305) in assessed to underway and, based on previous voyages, will likely remain in the Somali Basin south of 7 degrees north.

The overall high level of piracy activity in the Arabian Sea and northern Somali Basin is expected to continue through next week. The monsoon is expected to increase in intensity with wave heights increasing to 2m or higher. In those areas the launching of pirate skiffs may be hampered and the approach speeds dampened.

All mariners transiting the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea are warned that pirates remain active in these areas. Vigilant watches, early detection of vessels manoeuvring to close, early reporting and the adoption of the Best Management Practices are the keys for remaining safe in the Indian Ocean within 15°S and 78°E.

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