Increase in piracy off West Africa

 IMB, International Maritime Bureau, maritime safety news, piracy, pirates  Comments Off on Increase in piracy off West Africa
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.


MSC 89 Moves On Lifeboats, Confined Spaces, Piracy

 confined space, enclosed space, maritime safety news, piracy, SafeSpace  Comments Off on MSC 89 Moves On Lifeboats, Confined Spaces, Piracy
May 282011
IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), which met at the Organization’s London Headquarters for its 89th session from 11 to 20 May 2011, completed a packed agenda, including the development of interim guidance on the employment of privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships transiting the high-risk piracy area, the adoption of amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) concerning lifeboat release hooks, an agreement on the way forward with regard to the implementation of the Torremolinos Protocol on fishing vessel safety and the approval of a number of draft resolutions for submission to the IMO Assembly, to be held in November 2011. Continue reading »

Somali Pirates Release Two But Hold Crew

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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 »


Q1 Piracy At “All time high” claims IMB

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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 »


Thor Nexus Released

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Apr 132011


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 »


Radio Programme of Note: The Sea Gangsters

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Apr 132011

BBC Radio does its usual splendid job of reportage with Tom Mangold at the helm in this investigation of the changes in piracy in the past 18 months..

The recent murder of four innocent civilian hostages aboard their yacht ‘Quest’, the kidnapping of children aboard a Danish yacht, and the hi-jack of the giant oil tanker ‘Irene’ are game changers in the ever growing scandal of international piracy. Piracy Inc. is getting bigger, nastier and richer by the week – at the expense of the freedom of Western sea trade.

The new sea gangsters now have some 20 mother ships, most driven by hostage slave crews operating with virtual impunity on sea lanes stretching from Africa to India. The recent escalation highlights the impotence of the West’s navies in facing the threat. Paralysed by indecision, the British and their NATO allies have virtually no authority to disarm, attack or aggressively confront the enemy. Only India, Russia and South Korea have taken the law into their own hands and blasted the Somali pirates out of the water when and where they have caught up with them – but at a price. Continue reading »


New Recommendations On AIS In Pirate-Threat Areas

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Apr 082011

NATO’s Shipping Centre has issued new recommendaions regarding the use of Automatic Identification Systems in areas where a threat of piracy may exist.

Until now NATO has recommended that AIS transmission within the Gulf of Aden be left on with restrictions, and outside the Gulf of Aden in other parts of the High Risk Area be turned off completely.

In order that Counter Piracy Naval Operations have the required data from AIS transmissions to track real time positions of merchant ships, thus enabling them to mitigate risk of piracy to merchant shipping, the advice has been revised. Continue reading »


MV SUSAN K pirated only 35 nautical miles from Omani coast

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Apr 082011

Susan K

In the early morning of 8 April, the General Cargo ship MV SUSAN K was pirated approximately 200 nautical miles North-East of Salalah, Oman; a location only 35 nautical miles from the Omani coastline.

The vessel was attacked and boarded by at least 10 pirates although exact details of the attack are not known at this time.

The Antigua & Barbuda flagged and German owned vessel was on its way to Port Sudan (Sudan) from Mumbai (India) when it was attacked.  The MV SUSAN K has a crew of 10 (4 Ukraine and 6 Filipino). There is no further information about the crew at present.

The MV SUSAN K was registered with MSC(HOA) and was reporting to UKMTO.  EUNAVFOR are continuing to monitor the situation.


PiraT Newsletter Out

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Apr 082011

German anti-piracy project PiraT has released the latest edition if its newsletter. This edition covers key issues including armed security guards and calls for participation in a maritime security survey.

The goal of the project PiraT is to develop “a comprehensive concept for maritime security in which political risk analyses and technological security solutions are linked with legal and economic approaches. The overall goal is to develop inter-agency governmental options for action that will enable the implementation of non-military measures to strengthen maritime trade security”.

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